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Laboratory Physiology of Neural Networks
Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neurobiology (INCI)
CNRS associated with the University of Strasbourg (UPR 3212)
5, rue Blaise Pascal
67084 - Strasbourg Cedex

+33 3 88 45 66 77
+33 3 88 60 16 64

Job opportunities

Prof Bernard Poulain
Communication and Networks in the Nervous System
The European Neuroscience Institute at Strasbourg

Research Area

Overall, the main interest of the team (co-headed by Philippe Isope and Bernard Poulain) is the understanding of the mechanisms of neurotransmission (with a special focus on pre- and postsynaptic plasticity mechanisms) and functional organization of the neuronal network in the cerebellum.

We have addressed presynaptic mechanisms using an electrophysiological approach (quantitative biology approach, home-made analytical algorithmic), and the molecular aspects, in an integrated view. Using optogenetic tools developed by Philippe Isope, current experimental approaches combine light stimulation of specific subset of neurons and electrophysiological recordings.

During the past 5 years, we have identified a novel form of synaptic plasticity based on the switching on-off of the functional state of release sites. We are currently investigating how synapses in the cerebellum can maintain their synaptic efficacy at various frequencies (low frequency, high frequency bursts). Large part of the team effort is aimed at analyzing how the neuronal network in cerebellar cortex defines functional modules.

 In addition, since for more 25 years decades BP has paid a substantial effort in deciphering the mechanisms by which bacterial neurotoxins acts on neural cells and how they can be used in a rational way in therapeuthics.

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5 Selected Publications

Popoff MR., Mazuet C., Poulain B. (2013) Botulism and Tetanus, in: The Prokaryotes, 4th Edition (vol. 5: Human Microbiology) Eugene Rosenberg, Edward F. DeLong, Fabiano Thompson, Stephen Lory, Erko Stackebrandt (Eds). Springer Berlin Heidelberg pp 247-290, ISBN: 978-3-642-30143-8 (Print), 978-3-642-30144-5 (Online).

Valera A., Doussau F., Poulain B., Barbour B., Isope P. (2012) Adaptation of granule cell to Purkinje cell synapses to high-frequency transmission. J. Neurosci., 32 (9): 3267–80.

Doussau F., Humeau Y., Benfenati F., Poulain B. (2010) A Novel Form of Presynaptic Plasticity Based on the Fast Reactivation of Release Sites Switched Off during Low-Frequency Depression. J. Neurosci., 30 (49) : 16679-91.

Fourcaudot E., Gambino F., Casassus G., Poulain B., Humeau Y., Lüthi A. (2009)  L-type voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels mediate expression of presynaptic LTP in amygdala. Nat. Neurosci., 12 (9): 1093-5.

Fourcaudot E., Gambino F., Humeau Y., Casassus G., Shaban H., Poulain B., Lüthi A. (2008). cAMP/PKA signaling and RIM1alpha mediate presynaptic LTP in the lateral amygdala. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 105 (39): 15130-34.


Fellowships, Awards and Honours

1993            Young Researcher Prize from DRET
1992            Bronze Medal CNRS

Technical Expertise
  • Quantal Aspects of Neurotransmission
  • Presynaptic Forms of Synaptic Plasticity
  • Bacterial Toxins Mechanism
  • Variance-to-Mean Analysis