Genes Circuits Rhythms and Neuropathology



ED 158 3C
Université Pierre et Marie Curie


Laboratoire Plasticité du cerveau
UMR 8249
Labex MemoLife, Idex PSL


Parkinson’s disease
Locomotor aging
Drosophila models


Cassar M.#, Issa A.-R.#, Riemensperger T.#, Petitgas C.#, Rival T.#, Coulom H.#, Iché-Torres M.#, Han K.-A. & Birman S#. (2015)A dopamine receptor contributes to paraquat-induced neurotoxicity in Drosophila. Hum. Mol. Genet. 24(1):197-212

Lavista-Llanos S., Svatoš A., Kai M., Riemensperger T.#, Birman S.#, Stensmyr M. C. & Hansson B. S. (2014) Dopamine drivesDrosophila sechellia adaptation to its toxic host. eLife Dec 9;3

Riemensperger T.#, Issa A.-R.#, Pech U., Coulom H.#, Nguy?n M.-V.#, Cassar M.#, Jacquet M.#, Fiala A. & Birman S#. (2013) Asingle dopamine pathway underlies progressive locomotor deficits in a Drosophila model of Parkinson disease. Cell Rep. 5:952–960

Pech U., Pooryasin A., Birman S#. & Fiala A. (2013) Visualization of the connections between Kenyon cells and aminergic neuronsin the Drosophila melanogaster brain using split-GFP reconstitution. J. Comp. Neurol. 521(17):3992-4026

Reinhardt A., Feuillette S., Cassar M.#, Callens C.#, Thomassin H., Birman S.#, Lecourtois M., Antoniewski C. & Tricoire H. (2012)Lack of miRNA misregulation at early pathological stages in Drosophila neurodegenerative disease models. Front. Genet. 3:226

Fields of research

Neuropharmacology / cell signaling

Research Theme

Our research program aims at understanding how the brain controls locomotor activity, and how aging or neurodegenerative pathologies, such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, alter this function and in general brain functioning. We try to identify neuronal networks controlling locomotor activity and circadian mechanisms that modulate them in health and disease. Our approach combines genetics methods, brain imaging and behavioral assays. We use the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model because this organism offers invaluable advantages for genetic studies. In this animal, locomotion is easily quantifiable and increasingly sophisticated tools are available to follow or modify neuronal activity in vivo. In addition, models for the main human neurodegenerative diseases, developed in other and our laboratories, are routinely studied in this organism

Team members

André Klarsfeld
Baya Chérif-Zahar
Ali Mteyrek
Abdul-Raouf Issa
Alexandra Vaccaro
Mathilde Lecompte
Jun Sun