WP1 | Neuron-glia communication in the healthy brain


Objective: Identification of the molecular and cellular pathways that determine the network activity of the brain

WP1 will focus on neuron-glial communication in the normal brain. The general aim here is to gain new insights on how glial cells monitor neuronal activity and on the basic mechanisms through which glial cells (astrocytes, NG2 glia and microglia) modulate or control neuronal network activity, e.g. through the release of gliotransmitters such as glutamate, ATP or D-serine, or uptake of neurotransmitters and ions (glutamate, GABA, K+). A combination of state-of-the-art electrophysiological and Ca2+ imaging techniques in situ as well as in vivo will be used to monitor simultaneously both neuronal and glial excitability. Models characterized by different levels of complexity will be used, from freshly suspended cells and acute brain slices to isolated whole brain preparations and in vivo 2P-LSM of genetically modified mice. The same methods and preparations will then be exploited to test the new findings for their potential relevance in epilepsy in WP2. This WP will also address a novel aspect of glia biology, i.e. the analysis of microglial Ca2+ signals in genetically modified mice.

Tasks (and involved participants)

T1.1: Characterization of the role of gap junctional communication (UKB, CdF)
T1.2: Analysis of the GABAergic signalling in neuron-glia interaction (CNR, HLU)
T1.3: Characterization of molecular and cellular as well as temporal and spatial properties of network activity (USAAR, CNR, INSERM, CdF, CU, AU, NPI)
T1.4: Analysis of microglial Ca2+ signalling in situ and in vivo (INSERM)


D1.1 Defining the cell type-specific molecular communication signals to the neural network activity in slices and in vivo (Mo 24);
D1.2 Identification of regulatory mechanisms modulating cortical network activity (Mo 48)