Marie-Laure Baudet
Marie-Laure Baudet
affiliation: University of Trento, CIBIO
research area(s): Neuroscience, Molecular Biology
Course: Biomolecular Sciences
University/Istitution: Università di Trento
The precise elaboration and specification of neuronal circuits is at the basis of any properly functioning nervous system. For circuits to be established, neurons form remarkably accurate connections with their target cells during development. How are these connections established? Neurons send out cell protrusions called axons, which navigate in a complex environment to reach their exact target, a process known as axon guidance. Understanding the key molecules that induce the formation of such precise circuits is crucial, because any failure in this process, either during development or following injury or disease, impairs the proper function of the nervous system.
Research directions
We investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable axons to
grow and to accurately find their targets, physiologically during development but also therapeutically following injury or disease. We are particularly interested in understanding the role of non-coding RNAs in this process.
microRNAs in axon guidance. microRNAs are a class of small non-coding RNAs that have recently been discovered in the developing nervous system. As key mRNA silencing molecules, they play a crucial role in the biology of the cell. Although pioneering work (see Baudet et al., 2011; Pinter and Hindges, 2010) suggests that these molecules are involved in axon guidance in vivo, very little is still known about how microRNAs participate in this process. Using an interdisciplinary approach (ranging from live imaging, and Next Generation Sequencing to bioinformatics), we are investigating the broad physiological roles and mechanisms of action of microRNAs in axon outgrowth and guidance.
Non-coding RNAs in axon regrowth and rewiring. To date, no treatment exists to promote CNS nerve regrowth and rewiring following nerve injury or axonal degeneration. This is partly because the mechanisms that are in place during development fail to be recapitulated in the adult nervous system. We are interested in exploring how non-coding RNAs, found to regulate axonal development and targeting, could act as novel therapeutic tools to promote nerve regrowth and rewiring.
Non-coding RNAs and Cancer. The molecular mechanisms involved in axon guidance and cell migration/metastasis share some similar pathways. Within a collaborative framework, we are interested in investigating whether non-coding RNA based-molecular mechanisms, involved in axon guidance also, contribute to cell metastasis in cancers of the nervous system.
Baudet ML, Zivraj K, Abreu-Goodger C, Muldal A, Armisen J, Blenkiron C, Goldstein LD, Miska E and Holt CE (2011) miR-124 acts through coREST to control onset of Sema3A sensitivity in navigating retinal growth cones. Nature Neuroscience 15, 29-38.

Han L, Wen Z, Lynn RC, Baudet ML, Holt C, Sasaki Y, Bassell G and Zheng J (2011) Regulation of chemotropic turning of nerve growth cones by microRNA 134 Molecular Brain 4, 40.

Wong G, Baudet ML, Norden C, Leung L and Harris W (2012) Slit1b-Robo3 signaling and N-cadherin regulate apical process retraction in developing retinal ganglion cells. Journal of Neuroscience 32, 223-8.

Baudet ML, Rattray D, Martin BT, Harvey S (2009) Growth hormone promotes axon growth in the developing nervous system. Endocrinology 6, 2758-66.

Baudet ML, Rattray D and Harvey S (2007) Growth hormone and its receptor in projection neurons of the chick visual system: retinofugal and tectobulbar tracts. Neuroscience 148, 151-163.
No projects are available to students for the current accademic year.