Sylvie Breton's Lab
Our laboratory studies the regulation of epithelial cells in various organs of the urogenital tract, with an emphasis on the kidney and epididymis. We developed a multidisciplinary approach including high-resolution laser scanning confocal microscopy, and intravital multiphoton microscopy, 3D reconstruction of single cells, luminal perfusion of the epididymis in vivo, and monitoring of live cells. We study the function of epithelial cells while they reside in their native environment. By comparing and contrasting the kidney and epididymis epithelia, we revealed novel signaling pathways that contributed to our better understanding of how specialized proton-secreting cells, the collecting duct intercalated cells and epididymal clear cells, establish and maintain an acidic luminal environment, which is essential for whole body acid/base homeostasis by the kidney, and sperm maturation and storage in the epididymis. In addition, our recent study showed novel functions for intercalated cells as sensors and mediators of sterile inflammation. We also revealed a previously unrecognized role for CFTR, whose mutations cause cystic fibrosis, as a crucial regulator of epithelial tubulogenesis and remodeling.