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Laboratory on molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in reward-related learning and memory
Laboratory on Neurobiology of Addiction, Stress and Craving
Laboratory on the Neurobiology of Anxiety
Laboratory on Neurobiology of Depression

Center for Psychiatric Neurosciences                                                                            Français

Laboratory on molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in reward-related learning and memory

Contact information :

Centre de Neurosciences Psychiatriques (CNP)
Site de Cery
CH -1008 Prilly-Lausanne       location plan
Switzerland
Tél.:  ++41 (0)21 643 69 46
Fax : ++41 (0)21 643 69 50
E-mail: Jean-Rene.Cardinaux@chuv.ch

Leader :

Dr. Jean-René Cardinaux, PhD, PD, MER

Group members :

  • Myriam Steinmann, lab manager
  • Raffaella Guidi, graduate student
  • Lionel Breuillaud, graduate student

Research projects :

Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing psychiatric disorder that results from adaptations of the brain in response to excessive drug stimulation. Clinical and laboratory observations have converged on the hypothesis that addiction represents the pathological usurpation of neural processes that normally serve reward-related learning. The major substrates of persistent compulsive drug use are hypothesized to be molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie long-term associative memories in several forebrain circuits (involving the ventral and dorsal striatum and prefrontal cortex) that receive input from midbrain dopamine neurons. In this context, the transcription factor CREB (Cyclic AMP response element-binding protein) was shown to be critical. These last ten years, CREB has been extensively studied and shown to be involved in many physiological, as well as pathological, brain functions, including learning and memory processes, synaptic plasticity and drug addiction. However, relatively little is known about the genes that are regulated by CREB in the brain and about the transcriptional coactivators regulating CREB-mediated transcription.

Current work of the laboratory focuses on CREB coactivators called CBP and TORC1 (Kovács et al., 2007. PNAS 104, 4700-4705), as well as CREB target genes coding for a transcription factor family, called C/EBP (Kovács et al., 2006. J. Neurochem. 98, 1390-1399), that was shown to be involved in learning and memory processes. Our goal is to determine the role of these proteins in the context of cocaine addiction. So far, we have studied several aspects of the molecular functions of these factors in primary cultures of neurons. We are currently generating knockout and transgenic mice for the TORC1 and C/EBP projects, respectively. These animals will then be subjected to several behavioural tests (cocaine conditioned place preference, drug self-administration, …) that should allow a better understanding of the role of these transcription factors in drug addiction.

Keywords :

addiction, cocaine, brain, dopamine, cAMP, transcription factors, CREB, TORC1, CBP, C/EBP.

Collaborations :


Dernière modification le 16.01.2012 - Impressum - Informations juridiques