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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Gabrielle Boulianne, PhD

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

Associate Chief, Science and Innovation
Research Institute

University of Toronto
Department of Molecular Genetics

Chair Positions
Canada Research Chair
Molecular & Developmental Neurobiology

Fax: 416-813-7654 ext. 308701
Email: gboul@sickkids.ca

Research Interests

  • Neural Development
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Neurotransmission
  • Regulation of Synaptic Vesicle Exocytosis and Endocytosis
  • Genetic Models of Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Molecular Biology of Aging

Research Activities

My colleagues and I are interested in understanding how cell fate is determined during neuronal development in Drosophila . In recent years we have focused on a group of genes, called "neurogenic genes", which have been shown to interact in a common pathway to determine the fate of virtually every cell type in many complex organisms. A second area of research is to understand the molecular basis of neurotransmitter release. Using genetic and molecular approaches we have identified and characterized the function of the NSF gene which plays a central role in this process. Finally, we are also developing Drosophila models of aging and neurodegenerative disease. This work involves the analysis of SOD and presenilins for which mutations have been implicated in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimers Disease, respectively.

Future Research Interests

  • Genetic screens to identify other members of the neurogenic pathway.
  • Characterization of mammalian homologues of these genes.
  • Analysis of the function of presenilins in normal development and disease.
  • Characterization of novel regulators of neurotransmitter release/secretion.

External Funding

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Natural Sciences & Engineering Council of Canada
  • Alzheimer's Association


For a complete list of publications, please visit PubMed.

Commisso C, Boulianne GL. (2008).  The NHR1 domain of Drosophila Neuralized mediates nuclear envelope association and Delta-dependent inhibition of nuclear import.  Journal of Molecule Biology. 375(4): 1125-1140.

Skwarek L, Garroni M, Commisso C, Boulianne GL. (2007).  Neuralized contains a phosphoinositide-binding motif required downstream of ubiquitination for Delta endocytosis and Notch signaling.  Developmental Cell. 13(6): 783-795.

Knight D, Iliadi K, Charlton MP, Atwood HL, Boulianne GL. (2007).  Presynaptic plasticity and associative learning are impaired in a Drosphilia presenilin null mutant.  Developmental Neurobiology.  67(12):1598-613.

Commisso C, Boulianne GL. (2007).  The NHR1 domain of Neuralized binds Delta and mediates Delta trafficking and Notch signaling. Molecular and Cellular Biology.  18(1): 1-13.

Sarkar M, Leventis PAL, Silvescu C, Reinhold VN, Schachter H, Boulianne GL. (2006).  Null mutations in Drosophila N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase I produce defects in locomotion and a reduced lifespan.  The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 281(18): 12776-12785.

Michno K, van de Hoef D, Wu H, Boulianne GL. (2005).  Modeling age-related diseases in Drosophila: can this fly? Current Topics in Developmental Biology.  71:199-223.

Stewart BA, Mohtashami M, Rivlin P, Deitcher DL, Trimble WS, Boulianne GL. (2002).  Disruption of synaptic structure and function by mutant NSF at Drosophila neuromuscular synapses.  Journal of Neurobiology. 51(4): 261-271.

Leventis PA, Chow BM, Stewart BA, Lyengar B, Campos AR, Boulianne GL. (2001).  Drosophila Amphiphysin is a postsynaptic protein required for normal locomotion but not endocytosis.  Traffic 2(11): 839-850.

Yeh E, Dermer M, Commisso C, Zhou L, McGlade J, Boulianne GL. (2001).  Neuralized functions as an E3-ubiquitin ligase during Drosophila development.  Current Biology 11(21): 1675-1679.

Stewart BA, Mohtashami M, Zhou L, Trimble WS, Boulianne GL.(2001).  SNARE-dependent signaling at the Drosophila wing margin.  Developmental Biology. 234(1): 13-23.

Intellectual Property

Presenilin Modifiers
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