Prof Yves Barde - MD
Telephone:+44 (0)29 208 70987
Location:Cardiff School of Biosciences, The Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Our work focuses on secreted molecules designated neurotrophins. These molecules play critical roles in the development of the vertebrate nervous system and the maintenance of its function in the adult (for a recent review of some of their properties, see Dekkers et al. 2013). The dominant neurotrophin in the CNS is brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). It is encoded by a gene regulated by neuronal activity and both human genetics and animal models illustrate its relevance in, for example, memory consolidation and neuroprotection. We now explore the possibility that BDNF may regulate not only the function, but also the growth of the adult brain. We are also interested in using small molecules diffusing into the brain with the goal of increasing BDNF levels so as to help preventing neuronal dysfunction (see Deogracias et al. 2012). Our laboratory extensively use embryonic stem cells to generate neurons, a powerful cell culture system that allowed us to uncover new roles for the transcription factor Pax6 (Nikoletopoulou et al., 2007), the amyloid precursor protein APP (Schrenk-Siemens et al. 2008), the neurotrophin receptors p75 (Plachta et al. 2007; Bischoff et al. 2012), TrkA and TrkC (Nikoletopoulou et al. 2010) and MeCP2, the gene most frequently mutated in Rett syndrome (Yazdani et al. 2012).