Cell Dynamics - EMT and Directional Cell Migration

Eric Theveneau

05 61 55 60 26

Team members

  • Cathy Danesin
  • Eric Theveneau
  Associate professor
  • Bruno Glise
  Technical staff
  • Anne Bibonne
  Master student
  • Wilhelmina Meijer


Our lab focuses on mechanisms of cell dynamics: epithelial-mesenchymal transition, directional cell migration, cell polarity and tissue mechanics. We aim at understanding basic principles that rule cell movements in complex environments during embryogenesis and cancer. We use embryos as tools to better understand the function of key players in cancer progression and muscular diseases such as the extracellular matrix, metalloproteinases and guidance cues.

We use two experimental models: chicken embryo (neural crest, mesoderm) and the xenopus embryo (neural crest). Neural Crest and mesoderm development rely on several oncogenes (snail, twist, ets...)
and their overall behaviour recapitulates the main steps of tumour metastasis in a controlled, reproducible manner, facilitating experimental approaches. Mesoderm development allows us to study repeated rounds of EMT and MET in a single cell type.

Our goal is to use our findings on experimental models to better understand cell dynamics defects occurring in diseases (cancer, inflammation).


If you are interested in working on cell migration and EMT in a multidisciplinary environment, we are always looking for post-doc and PhD applicants.

Informal enquiries can be sent directly to Eric Theveneau at - eric.theveneau[at]univ-tlse3.fr

Follow me on Twitter @EricTheveneau

Theveneau lab - march 2018

From left to right: E. Theveneau, F. Bajanca, C. Andrieu, O. Vantroeyen, N. Gouignard, E. Despin-Guitard, A. Bibonne.


Functions and substrates of Metalloproteinases during EMT an cell migration

Cell dynamics and tissue mechanics during epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Signal integration during directional cell migration


  • Danesin, C., Darche-Gabinaud, R., Escalas, N. et al..
    Sulf2a controls Shh-dependent neural fate specification in the developing spinal cord
    Sci Rep 11, 118 (2021)
    2021 Jan https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-80455-2
  • Nadege Gouignard Christian Rouviere and Eric Theveneau.
    Using Xenopus Neural Crest Explants to Study Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
    Methods in Molecular Biology
    2020 Sep
  • Analysis of Cellular EMT States Using Molecular Biology and High Resolution FISH Labeling
    Methods Molecular Biology
    2020 May chapter. Vol. 2179, Kyra Campbell and Eric Theveneau (Eds): The Epithelial-to Mesenchymal Transition
  • Andrieu, Montigny, Bibonne, Despin-Guitard, Alfandari & Theveneau*.
    MMP14 is required for delamination of chick neural crest cells independently of its catalytic activity
    2020 Apr *corresponding author
  • Jing Yang, Parker Antin, Geert Berx, Cédric Blanpain, Thomas Brabletz, Marianne Bronner, Kyra Campbell, Amparo Cano, Jordi Casanova, Gerhard Christofori, Shoukat Dedhar, Rik Derynck, Heide L. Ford, Jonas Fuxe, Antonio García de Herreros, Gregory J. Goodall, Anna-Katerina Hadjantonakis, Ruby J. Y. Huang, Chaya Kalcheim, Raghu Kalluri, Yibin Kang, Yeesim Khew-Goodall, Herbert Levine, Jinsong Liu, Gregory D. Longmore, Sendurai A. Mani, Joan Massagué, Roberto Mayor, David McClay, Keith E. Mostov, Donald F. Newgreen, M. Angela Nieto, Alain Puisieux, Raymond Runyan, Pierre Savagner, Ben Stanger, Marc P. Stemmler, Yoshiko Takahashi, Masatoshi Takeichi, Eric Theveneau, Jean Paul Thiery, Erik W. Thompson, Robert A. Weinberg, Elizabeth D. Williams, Jianhua Xing, Binhua P. Zhou, Guojun Sheng.
    Guidelines and definitions for research on epithelial–mesenchymal transition
    Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
    2020 Apr

View all publications




Audrey Montigny - Engineer 2013-2015

Matthieu Brunet - Undergrad. 2015.

Anna B. Berki - Undergrad. 2015.

Elena Scarpa - EMBO short-term visiting PhD student (University College London), 2014.


Université Paul Sabatier
118 Route de Narbonne

31062 TOULOUSE Cedex

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