Pierre Drapeau

Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Quebec, Canada

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Publications (106)714.66 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases causing progressive gait dysfunction. Over 50 genes have now been associated with HSP. Despite the recent explosion in genetic knowledge, HSP remains without pharmacological treatment. Loss-of-function mutation of the SPAST gene, also known as SPG4, is the most common cause of HSP in patients. SPAST is conserved across animal species and regulates microtubule dynamics. Recent studies have shown that it also modulates endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. Here, utilizing null SPAST homologues in C. elegans, Drosophila, and zebrafish, we tested FDA approved compounds known to modulate ER stress in order to ameliorate locomotor phenotypes associated with HSP. We found that locomotor defects found in all of our spastin models could be partially rescued by phenazine, methylene blue, N-acetyl-cysteine, guanabenz and salubrinal. In addition, we show that established biomarkers of ER stress levels correlated with improved locomotor activity upon treatment across model organisms. Our results provide insights into biomarkers and novel therapeutic avenues for HSP.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Human Molecular Genetics

  • No preview · Article · Dec 2015
  • Aurélie Stil · Pierre Drapeau
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    ABSTRACT: We describe neuronal patterns in the spinal cord of adult zebrafish. We studied the distribution of cells and processes in the three spinal regions reported in the literature: the 8th vertebra used as a transection injury site, the 15th vertebra mainly used for motor cell recordings and also for crush injury, and the 24th vertebra used to record motor nerve activity. We used well-known transgenic lines in which expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) is driven by promoters to hb9 and isl1 in motoneurons, alx/chx10 and evx1 interneurons, ngn1 in sensory neurons and olig2 in oligodendrocytes, as well as antibodies for neurons (HuC/D, NF and SV2) and glia (GFAP). In isl1:GFP fish, GFP-positive processes are retained in the upper part of ventral horns and two subsets of cell bodies are observed. The pattern of the transgene in hb9:GFP adults is more diffuse and fibers are present broadly through the adult spinal cord. In alx/chx10 and evx1 lines we respectively observed two and three different GFP-positive populations. Finally, the ngn1:GFP transgene identifies dorsal root ganglion and some cells in dorsal horns. Interestingly some GFP positive fibers in ngn1:GFP fish are located around Mauthner axons and their density seems to be related to a rostrocaudal gradient. Many other cell types have been described in embryos and need to be studied in adults. Our findings provide a reference for further studies on spinal cytoarchitecture. Combined with physiological, histological and pathological/traumatic approaches, these studies will help clarify the operation of spinal locomotor circuits of adult zebrafish. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2015.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Developmental Neurobiology
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    ABSTRACT: Background Neural tube defects (NTDs) are among the most common congenital defects affecting approximately 1 in 1000 live births in North America. Their etiology is complex including environmental and genetic factors. Defects in the planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling pathway have been strongly associated with NTDs in animal models and human cohorts. Protein tyrosine kinase 7 (Ptk7) was shown to cause a very severe form of NTDs called craniorachischisis in a mouse model and genetically interacts with a core PCP member Vangl2 where double heterozygotes suffer from spina bifida. In this study, we examined the role of PTK7 in human NTDs to determine whether variants at this gene predispose to these defects.Methods We sequenced the coding region and the exon-intron junctions of PTK7 in a cohort of 473 patients affected with various forms of open and closed NTDs. Novel and rare variants(<1%) were genotyped in a cohort of 473 individuals. Their pathogenic effect was predicted in silico and functionally in an overexpression assay in a well-established zebrafish model.ResultsWe identified in our cohort 6 rare variants, 3 of which were absent in public databases. One variant, p.Gly348Ser, acted as a hypermorph when overexpressed in the zebrafish model.Conclusion We detected potentially pathogenic PTK7 variants in 1.1% of our NTD cohort. Our findings implicate PTK7 as a risk factor for NTDs and provide additional evidence for a pathogenic role of PCP signaling in these malformations. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Birth Defects Research Part A Clinical and Molecular Teratology
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    ABSTRACT: The heterogeneous group of 3-methylglutaconic aciduria disorders includes several inborn errors of metabolism that affect mitochondrial function through poorly understood mechanisms. We describe four newborn siblings, from a consanguineous family, who showed microcephaly, small birth weight, severe encephalopathy and 3-methylglutaconic aciduria. Their neurological examination was characterised by severe hypertonia and the induction of prolonged clonic movements of the four limbs upon minimal tactile stimulation. Using homozygosity mapping and exome sequencing, we identified a homozygous truncating mutation (p.I562Tfs*23) in CLPB segregating with the disease in this family. CLPB codes for a member of the family of ATPases associated with various cellular activities (AAA(+) proteins) whose function remains unknown. We found that CLPB expression is abolished in fibroblasts from the patients. To investigate the function of this gene, we interfered with the translation of the zebrafish clpb orthologue using an antisense morpholino. The clpb morphants showed an abnormal touch-evoked response with increased swim velocity and tail beat frequency. This motor phenotype is reminiscent of that observed in the patients and is suggestive of increased excitability in neuronal circuits. Interestingly, knocking down clpb reduced the number of inhibitory glycinergic interneurons and increased a population of excitatory glutamatergic neurons in the spinal cord. Altogether, our study suggests that disruption of CLPB causes a novel form of neonatal encephalopathy associated with 3-methylglutaconic aciduria. Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://group.bmj.com/group/rights-licensing/permissions.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Medical Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Idiopathic scoliosis (IS) is a spine deformity that affects approximately 3% of the population. The underlying causes of IS are not well understood, although there is clear evidence that there is a genetic component to the disease. Genetic mapping studies suggest high genetic heterogeneity, but no IS disease-causing gene has yet been identified. Here, genetic linkage analyses combined with exome sequencing identified a rare missense variant (p.A446T) in the centriolar protein gene POC5 that cosegregated with the disease in a large family with multiple members affected with IS. Subsequently, the p.A446T variant was found in an additional set of families with IS and in an additional 3 cases of IS. Moreover, POC5 variant p.A455P was present and linked to IS in one family and another rare POC5 variant (p.A429V) was identified in an additional 5 cases of IS. In a zebrafish model, expression of any of the 3 human IS-associated POC5 variant mRNAs resulted in spine deformity, without affecting other skeletal structures. Together, these findings indicate that mutations in the POC5 gene contribute to the occurrence of IS.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Clinical Investigation
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    Preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Scoliosis
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    Annie Angers · Pierre Drapeau
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    ABSTRACT: The zebrafish posterior lateral line is formed during early development by the deposition of neuromasts from a migrating primordium. The molecular mechanisms regulating the regional organization and migration of the primordium involve interactions between Fgf and Wnt/[Formula: see text]-catenin signaling and the establishment of specific cxcr4b and cxcr7b cytokine receptor expression domains. Itch has been identified as a regulator in several different signaling pathways, including Wnt and Cxcr4 signaling. We identified two homologous itch genes in zebrafish, itcha and itchb, with generalized expression patterns. By reducing itchb expression in particular upon morpholino knockdown, we demonstrated the importance of Itch in regulating lateral line development by perturbing the patterns of cxcr4b and cxcr7b expression. Itch knockdown results in a failure to down-regulate Wnt signaling and overexpression of cxcr4b in the primordium, slowing migration of the posterior lateral line primordium and resulting in abnormal development of the lateral line.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    Laura D Knogler · Pierre Drapeau
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    ABSTRACT: In all but the simplest monosynaptic reflex arcs, sensory stimuli are encoded by sensory neurons that transmit a signal via sensory interneurons to downstream partners in order to elicit a response. In the embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio), cutaneous Rohon-Beard (RB) sensory neurons fire in response to mechanical stimuli and excite downstream glutamatergic commissural primary ascending (CoPA) interneurons to produce a flexion response contralateral to the site of stimulus. In the absence of sensory stimuli, zebrafish spinal locomotor circuits are spontaneously active during development due to pacemaker activity resulting in repetitive coiling of the trunk. Self-generated movement must therefore be distinguishable from external stimuli in order to ensure the appropriate activation of touch reflexes. Here, we recorded from CoPAs during spontaneous and evoked fictive motor behaviors in order to examine how responses to self-movement are gated in sensory interneurons. During spontaneous coiling, CoPAs received glycinergic inputs coincident with contralateral flexions that shunted firing for the duration of the coiling event. Shunting inactivation of CoPAs was caused by a slowly deactivating chloride conductance that resulted in lowered membrane resistance and increased action potential threshold. During spontaneous burst swimming, which develops later, CoPAs received glycinergic inputs that arrived in phase with excitation to ipsilateral motoneurons and provided persistent shunting. During a touch stimulus, short latency glutamatergic inputs produced cationic currents through AMPA receptors that drove a single, large amplitude action potential in the CoPA before shunting inhibition began, providing a brief window for the activation of downstream neurons. We compared the properties of CoPAs to those of other spinal neurons and propose that glycinergic signaling onto CoPAs acts as a corollary discharge signal for reflex inhibition during movement.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Frontiers in Neural Circuits
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    Laura D Knogler · Joel Ryan · Louis Saint-Amant · Pierre Drapeau
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    ABSTRACT: Spontaneous network activity is a highly stereotyped early feature of developing circuits throughout the nervous system, including in the spinal cord. Spinal locomotor circuits produce a series of behaviors during development before locomotion that reflect the continual integration of spinal neurons into a functional network, but how the circuitry is reconfigured is not understood. The first behavior of the zebrafish embryo (spontaneous coiling) is mediated by an electrical circuit that subsequently generates mature locomotion (swimming) as chemical neurotransmission develops. We describe here a new spontaneous behavior, double coiling, that consists of two alternating contractions of the tail in rapid succession. Double coiling was glutamate-dependent and required descending hindbrain excitation, similar to but preceding swimming, making it a discrete intermediary developmental behavior. At the cellular level, motoneurons had a distinctive glutamate-dependent activity pattern that correlated with double coiling. Two glutamatergic interneurons, CoPAs and CiDs, had different activity profiles during this novel behavior. CoPA neurons failed to show changes in activity patterns during the period in which double coiling appears, whereas CiD neurons developed a glutamate-dependent activity pattern that correlated with double coiling and they innervated motoneurons at that time. Additionally, double coils were modified after pharmacological reduction of glycinergic neurotransmission such that embryos produced three or more rapidly alternating coils. We propose that double coiling behavior represents an important transition of the motor network from an electrically coupled spinal cord circuit that produces simple periodic coils to a spinal network driven by descending chemical neurotransmission, which generates more complex behaviors.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Motor neuron disorders (MNDs) are a clinically heterogeneous group of neurological diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of motor neurons, and share some common pathological pathways. Despite remarkable advances in our understanding of these diseases, no curative treatment for MNDs exists. To better understand the pathogenesis of MNDs and to help develop new treatments, the establishment of animal models that can be studied efficiently and thoroughly is paramount. The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly becoming a valuable model for studying human diseases and in screening for potential therapeutics. In this Review, we highlight recent progress in using zebrafish to study the pathology of the most common MNDs: spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). These studies indicate the power of zebrafish as a model to study the consequences of disease-related genes, because zebrafish homologues of human genes have conserved functions with respect to the aetiology of MNDs. Zebrafish also complement other animal models for the study of pathological mechanisms of MNDs and are particularly advantageous for the screening of compounds with therapeutic potential. We present an overview of their potential usefulness in MND drug discovery, which is just beginning and holds much promise for future therapeutic development.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Disease Models and Mechanisms
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    Gary A B Armstrong · Pierre Drapeau
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) presents clinically in adulthood and is characterized by the loss of motoneurons in the spinal cord and cerebral cortex. Animal models of the disease suggest that significant neuronal abnormalities exist during preclinical stages of the disease. Mutations in the gene fused in sarcoma (FUS) are associated with ALS and cause impairment in motor function in animal models. However, the mechanism of neuromuscular dysfunction underlying pathophysiological deficits causing impairment in locomotor function resulting from mutant FUS expression is unknown. To characterize the cellular pathophysiological defect, we expressed the wild-type human gene (wtFUS) or the ALS-associated mutation R521H (mutFUS) gene in zebrafish larvae and characterized their motor (swimming) activity and function of their neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Additionally, we tested knockdown of zebrafish fus with an antisense morpholino oligonucleotide (fus AMO). Expression of either mutFUS or knockdown of fus resulted in impaired motor activity and reduced NMJ synaptic fidelity with reduced quantal transmission. Primary motoneurons expressing mutFUS were found to be more excitable. These impairments in neuronal function could be partially restored in fus AMO larvae also expressing wtFUS (fus AMO+wtFUS) but not mutFUS (fus AMO+mutFUS). These results show that both a loss and gain of FUS function result in defective presynaptic function at the NMJ.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: C. elegans and D. rerio expressing mutant TAR DNA Binding Protein 43 (TDP-43) are powerful in vivo animal models for the genetics and pharmacology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Using these small-animal models of ALS, we previously identified methylene blue (MB) as a potent suppressor of TDP-43 toxicity. Consequently here we investigated how MB might exert its neuroprotective properties and found that it acts through reduction of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. We tested other compounds known to be active in the ER unfolded protein response in worms and zebrafish expressing mutant human TDP-43 (mTDP-43). We identified three compounds: salubrinal, guanabenz and a new structurally related compound phenazine, which also reduced paralysis, neurodegeneration and oxidative stress in our mTDP-43 models. Using C. elegans genetics, we showed that all four compounds act as potent suppressors of mTDP-43 toxicity through reduction of the ER stress response. Interestingly, these compounds operate through different branches of the ER unfolded protein pathway to achieve a common neuroprotective action. Our results indicate that protein-folding homeostasis in the ER is an important target for therapeutic development in ALS and other TDP-43-related neurodegenerative diseases.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2013 · Neurobiology of Disease
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    ABSTRACT: The mutations P56S and T46I in the gene encoding vesicle-associated membrane protein-associated protein B/C (VAPB) cause ALS8, a familial form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Overexpression of mutant forms of VAPB leads to cytosolic aggregates, suggesting a gain of function of the mutant protein. However, recent work suggested that the loss of VAPB function could be the major mechanism leading to ALS8. Here, we used multiple genetic and experimental approaches to study whether VAPB loss of function might be sufficient to trigger motor neuron degeneration. In order to identify additional ALS-associated VAPB mutations, we screened the entire VAPB gene in a cohort of ALS patients and detected two mutations (A145V and S160Δ). To directly address the contribution of VAPB loss of function in ALS, we generated zebrafish and mouse models with either a decreased or a complete loss of Vapb expression. Vapb knockdown in zebrafish led to swimming deficits. Mice knocked-out for Vapb showed mild motor deficits after 18 months of age yet had innervated neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Importantly, overexpression of VAPB mutations were unable to rescue the motor deficit caused by Vapb knockdown in zebrafish and failed to cause a toxic gain-of-function defect on their own. Thus, Vapb loss of function weakens the motor system of vertebrate animal models but is on its own unable to lead to a complete ALS phenotype. Our findings are consistent with the notion that VAPB mutations constitute a risk factor for motor neuron disease through a loss of VAPB function.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: Glycine and GABA are depolarizing during early development, but the purpose of this paradoxical chloride-mediated depolarization remains unclear, especially at early stages. It was previously reported that suppressing glycine signaling from the beginning of development in zebrafish embryos caused an abnormal maintenance of the progenitor population and a specific reduction of spinal interneurons but not of other cell populations. Here, we show that cells including progenitors in the embryonic spinal cord had occasional spontaneous, glycine-mediated calcium transients that were blocked by the glycine antagonist strychnine and the L-type calcium channel blocker nifedipine. As shown previously for chronic block by strychnine, block of these transients by nifedipine reduced interneuron differentiation. Our results indicate that glycinergic depolarization of neural progenitors evokes spontaneous calcium transients that may enhance the interneuron neurogenic program. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2012.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Developmental Neurobiology
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    Gary A B Armstrong · Pierre Drapeau
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    ABSTRACT: TAR DNA binding protein (TDP-43, encoded by the TARDBP gene) has recently been shown to be associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), but the early pathophysiological deficits causing impairment in motor function are unknown. Here we expressed the wild-type human gene (wtTARDBP) or the ALS mutation G348C (mutTARDBP) in zebrafish larvae and characterized their motor (swimming) activity and the structure and function of their neuromuscular junctions (NMJs). Of these groups only mutTARDBP larvae showed impaired swimming and increased motoneuron vulnerability with reduced synaptic fidelity, reduced quantal transmission, and more orphaned presynaptic and postsynaptic structures at the NMJ. Remarkably, all behavioral and cellular features were stabilized by chronic treatment with either of the L-type calcium channel agonists FPL 64176 or Bay K 8644. These results indicate that expression of mutTARDBP results in defective NMJs and that calcium channel agonists could be novel therapeutics for ALS.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: Hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type 2 (HSNAII) is a rare pathology characterized by an early onset of severe sensory loss (all modalities) in the distal limbs. It is due to autosomal recessive mutations confined to exon "HSN2" of the WNK1 (with-no-lysine protein kinase 1) serine-threonine kinase. While this kinase is well studied in the kidneys, little is known about its role in the nervous system. We hypothesized that the truncating mutations present in the neural-specific HSN2 exon lead to a loss-of-function of the WNK1 kinase, impairing development of the peripheral sensory system. To investigate the mechanisms by which the loss of WNK1/HSN2 isoform function causes HSANII, we used the embryonic zebrafish model and observed strong expression of WNK1/HSN2 in neuromasts of the peripheral lateral line (PLL) system by immunohistochemistry. Knocking down wnk1/hsn2 in embryos using antisense morpholino oligonucleotides led to improper PLL development. We then investigated the reported interaction between the WNK1 kinase and neuronal potassium chloride cotransporter KCC2, as this transporter is a target of WNK1 phosphorylation. In situ hybridization revealed kcc2 expression in mature neuromasts of the PLL and semi-quantitative RT-PCR of wnk1/hsn2 knockdown embryos showed an increased expression of kcc2 mRNA. Furthermore, overexpression of human KCC2 mRNA in embryos replicated the wnk1/hsn2 knockdown phenotype. We validated these results by obtaining double knockdown embryos, both for wnk1/hsn2 and kcc2, which alleviated the PLL defects. Interestingly, overexpression of inactive mutant KCC2-C568A, which does not extrude ions, allowed a phenocopy of the PLL defects. These results suggest a pathway in which WNK1/HSN2 interacts with KCC2, producing a novel regulation of its transcription independent of KCC2's activation, where a loss-of-function mutation in WNK1 induces an overexpression of KCC2 and hinders proper peripheral sensory nerve development, a hallmark of HSANII.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · PLoS Genetics
  • Chloé Drapeau · Pierre Drapeau

    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Zebrafish
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    ABSTRACT: The DNA/RNA-binding proteins TDP-43 and FUS are found in protein aggregates in a growing number of neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and related dementia, but little is known about the neurotoxic mechanisms. We have generated Caenorhabditis elegans and zebrafish animal models expressing mutant human TDP-43 (A315T or G348C) or FUS (S57Δ or R521H) that reflect certain aspects of ALS including motor neuron degeneration, axonal deficits, and progressive paralysis. To explore the potential of our humanized transgenic C. elegans and zebrafish in identifying chemical suppressors of mutant TDP-43 and FUS neuronal toxicity, we tested three compounds with potential neuroprotective properties: lithium chloride, methylene blue and riluzole. We identified methylene blue as a potent suppressor of TDP-43 and FUS toxicity in both our models. Our results indicate that methylene blue can rescue toxic phenotypes associated with mutant TDP-43 and FUS including neuronal dysfunction and oxidative stress.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the DNA/RNA binding proteins TDP-43 and FUS are associated with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration. Intracellular accumulations of wild type TDP-43 and FUS are observed in a growing number of late-onset diseases suggesting that TDP-43 and FUS proteinopathies may contribute to multiple neurodegenerative diseases. To better understand the mechanisms of TDP-43 and FUS toxicity we have created transgenic Caenorhabditis elegans strains that express full-length, untagged human TDP-43 and FUS in the worm's GABAergic motor neurons. Transgenic worms expressing mutant TDP-43 and FUS display adult-onset, age-dependent loss of motility, progressive paralysis and neuronal degeneration that is distinct from wild type alleles. Additionally, mutant TDP-43 and FUS proteins are highly insoluble while wild type proteins remain soluble suggesting that protein misfolding may contribute to toxicity. Populations of mutant TDP-43 and FUS transgenics grown on solid media become paralyzed over 7 to 12 days. We have developed a liquid culture assay where the paralysis phenotype evolves over several hours. We introduce C. elegans transgenics for mutant TDP-43 and FUS motor neuron toxicity that may be used for rapid genetic and pharmacological suppressor screening.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · PLoS ONE

Publication Stats

4k Citations
714.66 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Université du Québec à Montréal
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2007-2015
    • Université de Montréal
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Pathology and Cell Biology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1994-2008
    • McGill University
      • • Department of Biology
      • • Centre for Research in Neuroscience
      • • Department of Neuropathology
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1989-2008
    • McGill University Health Centre
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 1987
    • Universität Basel
      Bâle, Basel-City, Switzerland