Neuronal assemblies and circuit formation: watching development in action


Our recent studies have demonstrated that neuronal assemblies form as result of cadherin-mediated cell interactions, and that motor nuclei show co-ordinated patterns of electrical activity. We will now investigate the interplay between cadherins, electrical activity and the formation of neuronal assemblies using live imaging in the zebrafish. We will watch the formation of neuronal assemblies in real time using time-lapse imaging in transgenic zebrafish and correlate this with patterns of spontaneous activity using GCaMP imaging. We will then test the effects of cadherin manipulations or of blocking electrical activity in single neurons or populations on neuronal assemblies and circuit formation.

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Guthrie, S. (2007).  Patterning and axon guidance of cranial motor neurons. Nat Rev. Neurosci. 8, 859-871.


Barnes, S.H., Price, S.R., Wentzel, C. and Guthrie, S.C. (2010). Cadherin-7 and cadherin-6B differentially regulate the growth, branching and guidance of cranial motor axons. Development 137, 805 - 814.


Wanner S.J., Saeger I., Guthrie S., Prince V.E. (2013). Facial motor neuron migration advances. Curr. Opin. Neurobiol. 23, 943-50.

Biological Areas:



Genes, development and STEM approaches to biology