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.

Recent Publications (more...)

Park YJ, Battistone MA, Kim B, Breton S
Relative contribution of clear cells and principal cells to luminal pH in the mouse epididymis.
Biol Reprod. 2017;96(2):366-375 - PMID: 28203710

Recent News (more...)

2014-07-14: CSB PMB work on high resolution imaging of the kidney using helium ion microscopy (Rice et al., PLoSONE 8(3); e57051, 2013) was featured recently in the annual report from the NIDDK (Recent Advances and Emerging Opportunities) under the heading “A closer look at kidney structure”. (pdf)
2012-06-29: CSB is delighted to announce that Sylvie Breton, PhD has been promoted to Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. This makes her one of the rare PhD professors in this department.
2012-02-27: Sylvie Breton, Ph. D., is the 2012 recipient of the highly prestigious "Research Award" from the Society for the Study of Reproduction. This annual award recognizes research excellence in the field of reproduction, based on innovation and originality in addition to rewarding leadership and participation in other scholarly activities. Congratulations Sylvie!
2011-05-06: Sylvie Breton, PhD has been named the 2011 MGH Research Scholars for work on intercellular communication through novel cell structures.
2009-09-30: Sylvie Breton, PhD was among the first 42 recipients of Transformative R01 Awards, a new program designed to give recipients resources and flexibility to pursue high-risk projects that have the potential to overturn current scientific assumptions.