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Neuronal Signaling and Morphogenesis

CHS Junior Research Group Neuronal Signaling and Morphogenesis

Dr. Annarita Patrizi

Instructive signals released by choroid plexus exert an endocrine-like effect on neuronal cells controlling their maturation in normal and disease conditions.

Human brain development is a protracted process that arguably extents throughout the whole lifespan. It is therefore fundamental to understand how the external environment can affect brain development and the acquisition of adult function. Any developmental insults to these processes can result in the onset of neurodevelopmental disorders or the formation of brain neoplasms. Our laboratory focuses on understanding how intrinsic and extrinsic factors mediate the development and refinement of brain circuits. One important source of extrinsic signals is the choroid plexus (CP), an unique interface between blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CFS). We employ biochemical, genetic, molecular, anatomical, viral behavioral approaches to study the unbiased CP-CSF instructive signals and how they influence the cortical circuit development and plasticity. Furthermore, our group uses animal models of neurodevelopmental disorders and brain neoplasm, to study the possible contribution of CP-CSF cues to the pathogenesis of the respective human diseases.

Our current and future research focuses on understanding the mechanisms regulating the production and release of specific instructive factors from the choroid plexus, how these factors are transported throughout the brain and how these cues influence normal and pathological brain development and plasticity. The identification of these cues could have tremendous potential for unlocking brain plasticity and for developing new therapies to prevent neoplasm malignancy.


Dr. Annarita Patrizi
Neuronal Signaling and Morphogenesis (A320)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 581
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42-1551

Selected Publications

  • Durand, S.*, Patrizi, A.*, Quast, K.B., Hachigian, L., Pavlyuk, R., Saxena, A., Carninci, P., Hensch, T.K. & Fagiolini, M. (2012). NMDA receptor regulation prevets regression of visual function in the absence of Mecp2. Neuron 76, 1078-1090
  • Mierau, S.B., Patrizi, A., Hensch, T.K. & Fagiolini, M. (2016). Cell-specific regulation of NMDA receptor maturation by Mecp2 in cortical circuits. Biol. Psychiatry, 79:746-754
  • Patrizi, A., Picard, N., Simon, A.J., Gunner, G., Centofante, E., Andrews, N.A. & Fagiolini M (2016). Chronic administration of the NMDA receptor antagonist ketamine improves Rett Syndrome phenotype. Biol. Psychiatry, 79:755-764
  • Mardinly, A.R., Spiegel, I., Patrizi, A., Centofante, E., Bazinet, J.E., Tzeng, C.P., Mandel-Brehm, C., Harmin, D.A., Adesnik, H.A., Fagiolini, M. & Greenberg ME (2016). Sensory experience regulates cortical inhibition by inducing IGF-1 in VIP neurons. Nature, 531:371-375
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