L Minichiello Group - single cell biology project


Dissecting neuronal molecular heterogeneity at single cell level in the adult mature brain

The central nervous system (CNS) displays enormous heterogeneity of neuronal cells at the histological, molecular and functional level. However, it is clear that the extent of this heterogeneity, and its functional consequences, is far from fully understood. One of the central issues in that regard is the combinatorial expression of neurotransmitters and their cognate receptors, the configuration of which is central both to the normal function of neuronal circuits and to their drug response.

Our aim is to understand, at the single cell level, the molecular heterogeneity of some adult CNS neuronal populations. This is critical to the identification of functionally distinct neuronal subsets. The latter is a prerequisite for the rational design of pharmacological intervention strategies and our ability to understand the cellular and molecular basis of disease.
The generation of whole transcriptome data from mature central neurons has so far not been accomplished. In order to achieve our aim we first had to establish protocols that would allow us to isolate neurons from adult/mature mouse brain (3-4 month of age) when all connections are established and functional. We have now developed the necessary protocols that will allow to address our questions.

Collaboration with the Nerlov lab.

Purification of adult and aged neuronal cells from murine brain for transcriptome analysis. Chinnavuth Vatanashevanopakorn, Amit Grover, Neil Ashley, Jacqueline M. Horn, Vasileios Eftychidis, Kevin Clark, Paul Sopp, Supat Thongjuea, Claus Nerlov and Liliana Minichiello. (In preparation)