Neurotransmission and signaling


Research center

17 rue du Fer à Moulin
75005 Paris


Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Université Pierre et Marie Curie


Marianne Coutures
UMRS 839
Contrat ANR, Brixham Foundation Prize (FRM, 2016)


- Pelosi A, Menardy F, Popa D, Girault JA, Hervé D. Heterozygous Gnal mice are a novel animal model to study dystonia pathophysiology. J Neurosci. 2017, 37:6253-67. 

- Giralt A, Brito V, Chevy Q, Simonnet C, Otsu Y, Cifuentes-Díaz C, de Pins B, Coura R, Alberch J, Ginés S, Poncer JC, Girault JA. Pyk2 modulates hippocampal excitatory synapses and contributes to cognitive deficits in a Huntington's disease model. Nat Commun. 2017, 8:15592.

- Engmann O, Giralt A*, Gervasi N*, Marion-Poll L, Gasmi L, Filhol O, Picciotto MR, Gilligan D, Greengard P, Nairn AC, Hervé D, Girault JA. DARPP-32 interaction with adducin may mediate rapid environmental effects on striatal neurons. Nature Commun, 2015, Dec 7;6:10099.

- Li L*, Gervasi N*, Girault JA.  Dendritic geometry shapes neuronal cAMP signaling to the nucleus. Nature Comm, 2015, 6:6319.

- Brami-Cherrier K, Gervasi N, Arsenieva D, Walkiewicz K, Boutterin MC, Ortega A, Leonard PG, Seantier B, Gasmi L, Bouceba T, Kadaré G, Girault JA*, Arold S*.  Dimerization controls activation of kinase-dependent functions of FAK at focal adhesions. EMBO J, 2014, 33:356-7.
*Equal contribution

Fields of research

Neuropharmacology / cell signaling

Research Theme

Our goal is to identify signaling mechanisms that underlie brain plasticity leading to long-lasting behavioral alterations. Our major model of study is the striatum that plays a crucial role in the control of movements, motivated behaviors, formation of habits, and procedural memory. The striatum is involved in several neurological and psychiatric diseases including Parkinson disease and addiction. Dopamine controls the acute function of striatal neurons and their long-lasting plasticity, thus contributing to reinforcement learning.

Drugs of abuse divert these processes by directly increasing dopamine transmission. Similar mechanisms are involved in side effects of L-DOPA in Parkinsonian patients. We study signaling pathways controlled by dopamine, glutamate, endocannabinoids and other neurotransmitters, which involve G proteins, protein kinases, phosphatases and gene expression. We attempt to identify the role of these pathways in simple behaviors and to identify assemblies of neurons in which they are activated. We also investigate other signaling pathways including non-receptor tyrosine kinases of the FAK family.