Liberty Francois-Moutal, PhD

Research Assistant Professor, SLU Pharmacology and Physiology

Synaptic delivery of mRNA in neurodegeneration and painful neuropathies

Our research aims to understand how synaptic transport of RNA is affected by neuropathies. Neurons rely on long-distance delivery of RNA required for local protein synthesis in order to answer the rapid metabolic changes in response to stimuli. Defects in RNA transport apparatus and subsequent loss of synaptic function is a common early pathological event in neurodegenerative diseases. Conversely, synaptic sensitization via exacerbated delivery of specific RNAs remains mostly unexplored. A prime example of gain of pre-synaptic function is central sensitization. Using the sensitized sensory neuron to spinal cord neurotransmission in chronic neuropathic pain as well as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy as models, we propose to study how synaptic transport potentiates synaptic plasticity and could be targeted for therapy.