Neurogenesis and circuit development


Research center

17 rue Moreau
75012 Paris
José-Alain Sahel


Université Pierre et Marie Curie
ED3C - n°158


Fondation Voir et Entendre
Phone: (33) 1. 53. 46. 25. 18
Labex Lifesenses


neural circuits
neural progenitors
Available to host a PhD student


1.         Dumas L, Heitz-Marchaland C, Fouquet S, Suter U, Livet J, Moreau-Fauvarque C, Chédotal A. Multicolor analysis of oligodendrocyte morphology, interactions, and development with Brainbow. Glia (2015) 63:699-717.

2.         Loulier K, Barry R, Mahou P, Le Franc Y, Supatto W, Matho KS, Ieng S, Fouquet S, Dupin E, Benosman R, Chédotal A, Beaurepaire E, Morin X, Livet J. Multiplex lineage tracking with combinatorial labels. Neuron (2014) 81:505-20

3.         Roy E, Neufeld Z, Livet J, Khosrotehrani K. Concise review: understanding clonal dynamics in homeostasis and injury through multicolor lineage tracing. Stem Cells (2014) 32:3046-54.

4.         Tabansky I, Lenarcic A, Draft R, Loulier K, Keskin DB, Rosains R, Rivera-Feliciano J, Lichtman J, Livet J, Stern JNH, Sanes JR, Eggan K. Developmental bias in cleavage-stage mouse blastomere. Current Biology (2013) 23:21-31.

5.         Mahou P, Zimmerley MS, Loulier K, Matho KS, Labroille G, Morin X, Supatto W, Livet J, Débarre D, and Beaurepaire E. Multicolor two-photon tissue imaging by wavelength mixing. Nature Methods (2012) 9:815-8.

6.         Jefferis GS, Livet J. Sparse, stochastic and combinatorial cell labeling. Current Opin Neurobiol (2012) 22:101-10.

7.         Weissman T, Lichtman JW, Sanes JR, Livet J. Generating and imaging multicolor Brainbow mice. Cold Spring Harb Protoc (2011) 7:763-856.

8.         Pan YA, Livet J, Sanes JR, Lichtman JW, and Schier AF. Multicolor Brainbow imaging in zebrafish (2011). Cold Spring Harb Protoc (2011) Jan 1:2011.

9.         Lichtman JW, Livet J, Sanes JR. A technicolour approach to the connectome. Nat Rev Neurosci (2008) 9:417-22.

10.       Livet J. The brain in color: transgenic "Brainbow" mice for visualizing neuronal circuits. Med Sci (2007) 23:1173-6.

11.       Livet J. Weissman TA, Kang H, Draft RW, Lu J, Bennis, RA, Sanes JR, Lichtman, JW. Transgenic strategies for combinatorial expression of fluorescent proteins in the nervous system. Nature (2007); 450:56-62.

Fields of research

Neurogenetics / neurodevelopment

Research Theme

Information processing in the brain and retina relies on extraordinarily complex and precisely organized assemblies of neuronal and glial cells. The development of these networks raises two great questions: how are their cellular components generated in adequate number and types? How do these cells distribute in nervous tissue and interconnect together? Our group develops and applies new genetic engineering and imaging approaches to study these questions with cellular precision in intact neural tissue. In particular we use Brainbow, a transgenic strategy which labels individual cells of a tissue with combinations of fluorescent proteins of distinct colors (red, yellow, cyan…). Brainbow multicolor labels discriminate closely apposed cells, opening new possibilities for analyzing neural circuit structure and development with single-cell resolution. We use this approach and others in two types of studies:

1)         Neural stem cell potentialities and regulation.

Neuronal and glial cells of the brain and retina are directly or indirectly generated by stem/progenitor cells located in the embryonic neuroepithelium. Based on Brainbow, we have introduced an approach to individually mark these progenitors with distinct colors and identify their clonal descent from embryonic to adult stages. We apply this multicolor clonal tracking scheme in the cortex and retina to define neural progenitor output, understand their regulation and characterize the organization of their neuronal and glial progeny.

2)         Sensory circuit structure and development. 

We use Brainbow in combination with new optical imaging methodologies for “connectomic” tracing of neural circuitry in select sensory networks, with the aim of revealing new features of adult circuits and shedding light on their assembly and remodeling during development.

In addition, we keep improving Brainbow strategies and develop complementary genetic engineering methodologies to inform on neural cells and circuit development.