The French National Centre for Scientific Research

Synaptic transmission in the cerebellar cortex

Project leader : Frédéric DOUSSAU, Bernard POULAIN & Philippe ISOPE

Transfer of information between neurons is achieved at specialized connections called synapses. In neuronal networks, the strength of synaptic transmission is constantly modulated by previous activities and by the frequency of presynaptic action potentials. Such synaptic plasticity is a fundamental aspect of information processing in the brain.
The goal of our research is to decipher mechanisms involved in synaptic plasticity and in the coding of sensorimotor information by in cerebellar microcircuits.

We are interested in:

  • Cellular and molecular mechanisms of information processing by presynaptic boutons.
  • The spatial and functional organization of synaptic connections in the cerebellar cortex.

Our research work is based on long-standing expertise in synaptic transmission (cellular and molecular mechanisms of neurotransmitter release and synaptic plasticity). Experimentally, we combine in vitro electrophysiological approaches with electron microscopy, two photon imaging and optogenetics techniques in transgenic mice.


Fred Doussau
Frédéric Doussau

Philippe Isope
Bernard Poulain
Bernard Poulain

Aline Huber
Technical assistant
Theo Rossi
Theo Rossi
PhD student

Théo Gagneux
PhD student


David Digregorio, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Fabio Benfenati, IIT, Genova, Italy
Michel Popoff, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

Selected publications

Dorgans K, Demais V, Bailly Y, Poulain B, Isope P, Doussau F. Short-term plasticity at cerebellar granule cell to molecular layer interneuron synapses expands information processing.Elife. 2019 May 13;8. pii: e41586.

Grangeray-Vilmint A, Valera AM, Kumar A, Isope P. Short-Term Plasticity Combines with Excitation-Inhibition Balance to Expand Cerebellar Purkinje Cell Dynamic Range. J Neurosci. 2018 May 30;38(22):5153-5167.

Doussau F, Schmidt H, Dorgans K, Valera AM, Poulain B, Isope P. Frequency-dependent mobilization of heterogeneous pools of synaptic vesicles shapes presynaptic plasticity. Elife. 2017 Oct 9;6. pii: e28935.

Stereotyped spatial patterns of functional synaptic connectivity in the cerebellar cortex. Valera AM, Binda F, Pawlowski SA, Dupont JL, Casella JF, Rothstein JD, Poulain B, Isope P.Elife. 2016 Mar 16;5. pii: e09862.

Chaumont J, Guyon N, Valera AM, Dugué GP, Popa D, Marcaggi P, Gautheron V, Reibel-Foisset S, Dieudonné S, Stephan A, Barrot M, Cassel JC, Dupont JL, Doussau F, Poulain B, Selimi F, Léna C, Isope P. Clusters of cerebellar Purkinje cells control their afferent climbing fiber discharge. PNAS. 2013 Oct 1;110(40):16223-8.


The French National Centre for Scientific Research