Mechanisms of Brain Morphogenesis and Pathogenesis
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Together with the Gunel laboratory, we are investigating the biology of Ccm3, a gene implicated in the pathogenesis of CCM, a monogenic cerebrovascular disorder. We have generated a mouse model that develops vascular lesions highly similar to human cavernomas; its study has led to the identification of cell autonomous as well as cell non-autonomous functions of CCM3 in vascular and neural development, and has unraveled an important role of this protein in the neurovascular unit.
Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy is the most common monogenic form of ischemic cerebral small-vessel disease. CADASIL is associated with highly stereotypical mutations in the extracellular domain of the Notch 3 receptor. Working in collaboration with the Artavanis-Tsakonas laboratory we are characterizing transgenic mouse models that parallel remarkably the human condition.