Alexandre Mourot, University of Louis Pasteur
  • Le 13 September 2023
    Amphi DE
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  • 11h30

Photochemical methods to manipulate nicotinic neurotransmission in behaving mice

Photochemical methods to manipulate nicotinic neurotransmission in behaving mice

Alexandre Mourot, PhD
Directeur de Recherche Inserm
Laboratoire Plasticité du Cerveau


Neuromodulatory signals, such as dopamine and acetylcholine, play a crucial role in altering the state of brain circuits. These signals are released in precise spatial and temporal patterns, either phasic or tonic, depending on the physiological context. My lab develops photochemical and chemogenetics methods for remote-control of specific neurotransmitter receptors with high precision in defined neural circuits in behaving mice, with the overall aim of obtaining a clearer picture of the function of neuromodulatory-driven signals in neural information processing and plasticity. Particularly, we have successfully generated transgenic knock-in mouse lines, in which endogenous nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes can be switched on and off with exquisite pharmacological specificity, and on different time scales, ranging from seconds to weeks. We further have developed caged nicotinic agonists that remain inert in darkness but can be selectively activated in precise brain regions following systemic administration. By combining these innovative tools with electrophysiology and behavioral analyses, we investigate the function of endogenous nicotinic receptors and deconstruct the behavioral effects of nicotine with unparalleled spatial, temporal, and biochemical accuracy.


Alexandre Mourot was trained as a chemical biologist and is now a research director and group leader in the Brain Plasticity lab at ESPCI Paris. His team is developing innovative opto-chemical technologies to manipulate neurotransmission with high precision in behaving mice. He is leveraging these home-made tools, alongside optical and electrophysiological readout methods, to study cholinergic and dopaminergic modulation within the context of drug addiction.

Mis à jour le 06 July 2023.