Martin Lévesque, PhD

Department of Psychiatry and Neurosciences, Université Laval

Molecular mechanisms of axon guidance mediated by PlexinC1 in dopamine neuron axonal projections

Lévesque lab research image
Midbrain explant containing dopaminergic neurons growing in collagen gel matrix. This assay is used to study the response of growing axons to guidance molecules.

Degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons (mDA) is the principal cause of Parkinson’s disease. Grafts of dopaminergic neurons newly generated from stem cells represent a promising therapeutic avenue. However, inappropriate re-innervation of the grafted neurons represents a major factor limiting success in transplantation studies. Our previous work has identified PlexinC1 as a potential important candidate that mediates appropriate innervation of dopaminergic axons.

The aim of this project is to investigate the function of PlexinC1 in mDA axons connectivity. Our findings will help efforts to understand the molecular factors contributing to the efficiency of cell replacement therapies in Parkinson’s disease.

Lévesque research team
The Lévesque research team (left to right): Catherine Gilbert, Guillaume Brisson, Véronique Rioux, Cléophace Akitegetse, Audrey Chabrat, Julien Charest, Hélène Doucet-Beaupré, Martin Lévesque (Photo: Simon Lecomte)