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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Institut Sophia Agrobiotech Inra Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis CNRS

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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs


DR CNRS, team leader - Senior scientist

© inra
Interrelation between epigenetic modifications and adaptation in insects

Scientific profile

Biochemist, I have been working for many years on the membrane receptors coupled to protein G and cyclase (7 trans membrane  domains) : molecular cloning and protein interactions. I have been working on the activation of phosphodiesterase by a protein G (gusducin) and the role of the protein G in the cellular signaling via the second messengers. The period of this work was mainly post doctoral. Proc. Natl. Acad Sci. USA 1991 88: 4986-90, Nature  Structural Biology  1994 1: 771-80, Nature 1995  376: 80-85       

I have also built pharmacological tools based on genetics with the Drosophila model. Briefly transgenes using the expression of Gal4 (exogenous transcription factor) as driver allowed us to express proteins and/or polypeptides specifically in tissues and in inducible manner. These proteins were designed as the pseudo inhibitory domain of kinases which will inhibit these molecules transiently or as constitutively active kinases. The method (published in J. Cell. Biochem. 1996 60:584-600 and 1996 62: 484-494) allowed to address interesting question regarding the behavior of transgenic Drosophila (Neuron  1997 18:307-314,  Science 1997 277:834-36). A technique for a refined determination of enzymatic parameters  for kinases (Vmax, Km)  expressed at low level and/or in tiny quantity of tissue has been set up and allowed analysis of the behavioral differences between nurse and explorer in honey bee (Science  2002  296: 741-44)

More recently the candidate shifted on the genetics of Drosophila in order to analyze the behavior. We note that flies perform well in exploration of ecological niches. Basically we have reported that the exploration is collective and not individual which make flies as a genetic model for temporal and coincidental integration of neuro sensorial signals (Genes, Brain and Behavior  2004  1:39-51, BMC neurosciences  2007   8;65). These sub social skills which guide the fly behavior has been since reported in many other contexts. The candidate using genetic tools based on the lox /flipase system (mitotic recombination) and a fluorescent neuronal marker has shown recently that late neurogenesis occurs in adult Drosophila wing after the emergence (Plos One 2008 (6):e2395).

I am is now interested in the interrelation between epigenetic modifications and adaptation in insects, in clonality versus sexuality in aphid (A. Pisum) model. Our group has shown that the clonality context instead of reproducing identical progenies as expected, in fact produce a repertoire of variants which fluctuates depending on the environmental factors. This repertoire seems under control of DNA methylation process  (Genome Research  2009  11 2052-63, PLoS Biol 2010 8(2): e1000313).

Breaf CV

  • 1975-1980: Pharmacy school at Poitiers. Doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences.
  • 1981-1987: Internship in Paris hospitals. « Hôpital Saint Antoine » and “Necker”. Fellowhip reward at CNRS. PhD obtained at the University Paris 6. Internship at the hospital  Saint-Antoine. Service of clinical biology, directed by  Professor Polonovsky. Studies on diabetes and lipoproteins. PhD start on the opioid receptors  in the Professor Roques’s laboratory. Fellowship reward at CNRS in the Professor Rosselin’s laboratory. Molecular characterization of the VIP (vasoactive intestinal peptide) receptor (part of the thesis). Internship at the hospital Necker. Service of clinical biology directed by Professor Bailly. Clinical research on the metabolism of lipoproteins and associated hereditary disorders. 
  • 1987PhD obtained at the University Paris 6, in biochemistry on the molecular characterization of opiod and VIP receptors.
  • 1988-1991Post doc fellowship at Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Vanderbilt University Nashville (US) in the Professor Corbin ‘s laboratory, then in the Professor Goetzl ‘s laboratory at USCF (University California San Francisco, US). Studies on phosphodiesterases, kinases and cloning of receptors (7 transmenbrane domains). 
  • 1992 Associate researcher at the Institute of molecular biology in the pharmaceutical group Hoffman-Laroche at Nutley (New York, US).
  • 1993-1998 Adjunct Professor at New York University (NYU) associated with the Professor Greenspan in the department of neuronal sciences. From Mars 1997 to october 1998: work on a « start up » project type bio technology. The main prospect consisted to use the drosophila genetics to screen drugs for pharmaceutical interests.    
  • 1998-2002 Director of Research at CNRS at Burgundy University (Dijon) and team leader.Work on neurobiology and behavior in Drosophila.  
  • 2003-2011 Co-team leader of the team “molecular and behavior ecology” in the department “plants and insects” INRA/CNRS/UNSA at Nice Sophia Antipolis University.
  • 2012…Team leader team “GEP” Genome, Environment and Plasticity in the department “plants andinsects”INRA/CNRS/UNSA at Nice Sophia Antipolis University.

Selected literature

  • Cloning and expression of human vasoactive intestinal peptide receptor.S. Sreedharan, A. Robichon, K. Peterson and E. Goetzl. Proc. Natl. Acad Sci. USA       1991    88:4986-90
  • Learning without performance in PKC-deficient drosophila. N.S. Kane, A. Robichon, J. Dickinson and R.J. Greenspan  Neuron  1997 Vol 18:307-314
  • N. spickofsky, A. Robichon, W. Danho, D. fry, D. Greely, B. Graves, V. Madison, R.F. Margolskee.   Nature  Structural Biology  1994 Vol 1: 771-80  
  • Transducin in taste cells couples reconstituted bitter receptor to a taste tissue phosphodiesterase.S. McLaughlin, L. Ruiz-Avila, D. Wildman, P.J. Mckinnon, A. Robichon, N. Spickofsky, R.F. Margolskee.    Nature  1995     Vol 376: 80-85
  • Natural behavior polymorphism due to a cGMP dependent protein kinase of drosophila. K.A. Osborne, A. Robichon, E. Burgess, S. Butland, R.A. Shaw, H.S. Pereira, R.J. Greenspan and M.B. Sokolowski.  Science 1997 277:834-36
  • Behavior influenced by gene action across different time scales. Y.Ben  Shala, A. Robichon, M. Sokolowski, G. Robinson. Science  2002  296: 741-44
  • Continued Neurogenesis in Adult Drosophila as a Mechanism for Recruiting Environmental Cue-Dependent Variants. Selim Ben Rokia-Mille, Sylvette Tinette, Gilbert Engler, Laury Arthaud, Sophie Tares, Alain Robichon.  Plos One 2008 (6):e2395
  • Profiling the repertoire of phenotypes influenced by environmental cues that occur during asexual reproduction. Aviv Dombrovsky, Laury Arthaud, Terence N.  Ledger, Sophie Tares and Alain Robichon. Genome Res. 2009 11:2052-63. 
  • Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. The International Aphid Genomic Consortium.   PLoS Biol. 2010 8(2):e1000313.
  • Trade-off between toxicity and signal detection orchestrated by frequency and density dependent genes Laury Arthaud, Selim Ben Rokia-Mille, Hussein Raad, Aviv Dombrovsky, Nicolas Prevost, Maria Capovilla and Alain Robichon Plos one May 2011

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