The Team
  • Researchers

    Christelle GALLY

    Sophie JARRIAULT

  • Post-Doctoral Fellows

    Shashi Kumar SUMAN

    Laura VIBERT

  • PhD Students


    Claudia RIVA

  • Engineers & Technicians

    Davide ISAIA


Development and stem cells

In vivo cellular plasticity and direct reprogramming

How differentiated cells can change their identity is a fascinating question in biology and has implications for the development of regenerative medicine strategies. Numerous examples of cellular plasticity in physiological, experimental and pathological settings exist, but precisely how a differentiated cell can change its identity remains unknown. Our research tackles this important question by employing a powerful and innovative model, the nematode C. elegans.
Our work has established the worm as a new model to study cellular reprogramming in vivo at the single cell level. We have shown that direct cell reprogramming events occur during the worm development: for example, a rectal cell changes its identity into a moto-neuron. Because of the C. elegans invariant cellular lineage, our system gives us access to all the steps of the process, including the early ones, a unique asset. We investigate how specific cells, but not their neighbours, become competent to be reprogrammed. We have begun the systematic identification of the molecular networks and the dissection of the cellular requirements underlying direct cell type conversion in vivo. In addition, we are assessing what key aspects have been conserved in cell reprogramming by comparing different cell plasticity events.
Our integrated approach will contribute to unravel the key mechanisms that allow a differentiated cell to become plastic and change its identity. Such knowledge has significant therapeutic implications, as it will deepen our understanding of the initiation of certain cancers, and will improve our ability to reprogram cells for regenerative medicine purposes.


Our team is member of the european network Genie : Group of Elegans New Investigators in Europe.



Imprimer Envoyer

Université de Strasbourg

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