Larue

Normal and Pathological Development of Melanocytes

Lionel Larue
Scientific keywords: b­catenin, melanocytes, melanoma, melanosomes, pigmentation
Technics Used in the Lab: mouse molecular genetics, molecular histology, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics

For about 15 years, the laboratory focuses on molecular genetics involving the melanocyte lineage. In order to better understand the normal and pathological development of melanocytes, the laboratory studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms occurring during the establishment of the melanocyte lineage, homeostasis and melanoma transformation. They are therefore interested in melanosome movement, melanocyte stem cells and pigmentation disorder such as vitiligo. The molecular keystone of the laboratory is a multifunctionnal protein known as βcatenin. They study the regulation of β­catenin through the WNT, PI3K/PTEN and MAPK signaling pathways. They evaluate the importance of βcatenin interactants, such as cadherins, ICAT or LEF/TCF proteins and they assess the role of βcatenin in the regulation of transcription of targets including, MITF­M, BRN2, CSK or NEDD9. In order to achieve their goals, the laboratory constantly improves techniques, technologies and scientific concepts at the molecular, cellular and physiological levels.

 

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Figure 1: Genetically modified mice presenting a coat color defects

Figure 2: Melanosomes are dispersed at the cell periphery in melanocytes producing a mutated form of ­catenin.

Figure 2: Melanosomes are dispersed at the cell periphery in melanocytes producing a mutated form of ­catenin.