René Couteaux

1994 Balzan Prize for Biology (Cell Structure)

René Couteaux is distinguished for his outstanding structural and ultrastructural studies of the neuromuscular junction and other synapses in the nervous system. His work has had an important influence on those who explore the mechanism of chemical transmission at synapses.

René Couteaux was born in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux on 23rd June, 1909 (†1999); he is a French citizen;

Assistant (1941), Chef de Travaux (1947), Maitre de Conférences (1948), Professor (1951), full Professor and Chairman of the Cytology Laboratory (1962-78) at Paris University’ s Science Department, becoming, in 1971, pro parte Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI); Professor Emeritus since 1978; President of the CNRS Cellular Biology Committee (1960-67) and member of numerous scientific Commissions and Councils;

member of the Institut de France and of the Academia Europaea and corresponding member of the Academy of Medicine in Turin:
fellow of many French and international institutions as IBRO, the Society of Biology, the Association of Anatomists, the French Zoological Society;
Royal Society Visiting Professor (1961-62), President of the French Society of Electronic Microscopy (1967-68), honorary member of the American Association of Anatomists.

Among his most important writings are:

— Participation de la musculature des dissépiments à certains phénomènes réflexes chez les Lombriciens. C.R.Soc.Biol., Vol. 113, 1480-1481 (1933);
— Sur l’origine de la sole des plaques motrices. C.R.Soc.Biol., Vol. 127, 218-221 (1938);
— Cholinesterase at the end-plates of voluntary muscles after nerve degeneration (in collaborazione con D. Nachmansohn), Nature (London), Vol.142, 481 (1938);
— Recherches sur l’histogénèse du muscle strié des Mammifères et la formation des plaques motrices. Bull. Biol. France Belgique, Vol.75, 101-239 (1941);
— Contribution à l’étude de la synapse myo-neurale. Revue canadienne de Biologie, Vol. 6, 563-7 11 (1947);
— Recherches histochimiques sur la distribution des activités cholinestérasiques au niveau de la synapse myoneurale (in collaborazione con J. Taxi). Arch. Anat. Micr., Vol.41, 352-392 (1952);
— Morphological and cytochemical observations on the post-synaptic membrane at motor end-plates and ganglionic synapses. Experimental Cell Research, Suppl. 5, 294-322 (1958);
— The differentiation of synaptic areas (Lecture). Proceedings of the Royal Society, B Vol. 158, 457- 480 (1963);
— Vésicules synaptiques et poches au niveau des “zones actives” de la fonction neuromusculaire (in collaborazione con Monique Pécot-Dechavassine). C.R. Acad. Sciences (Paris), Vol. 271, D, 2346- 2349 (1970);
— Recherches morphologiques et cytochimiques sur l’ organisation des tissus excitables. Edit. Robin et Mareuge, Paris, 225 p. (1978);
— Structure of the subsynaptic sarcoplasm in the interfolds of the frog neuromuscular junction. J. Neurocytology (London), Vol. 10, 947-962 (1981);
— The effect of denervation on myosin isoform synthesis in rabbit slow-type and fast-type muscles during terminal differentiation (in collaborazione con Anne d’Albis, Francis Goubel, Chantal Janmot e Jean Claude Mira). Eur. J. Biochem., Vol. 223, 249-258 (1994).

(October 1994)

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