Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory 1
Descripción de grupo
The group works on two main lines of research, whose objectives are summarized below.
1. Neurodegeneration mechanisms
The group investigates the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neurodegenerative processes, with special emphasis on the analysis of molecules that may constitute potential therapeutic intervention targets. For this, the genetic-functional analysis of molecules in which mutations that are associated with familial cases of PD, such as alpha-synuclein, have been mapped. The possible normal function of these molecules and their relationship with neurodegeneration is studied using genetically modified mouse strains (transgenic, null mutants, …). Animal models are used to:
functional analysis at the cellular and system level,
the study of the interaction of genetic alterations with toxic models of the disease,
genetic screening of factors that interact with known molecules,
the analysis of expression profiles (genomic analysis) by means of DNA chips to identify molecules whose expression is altered, in a concerted way, in the different situations of genetic model, followed by a phylogenetic comparative analysis of the identified molecules and their interrelations in the context of the pathology,
Identification of genes in mice for genetic alteration (production of null, transgenic mutants).
In this context, the group belongs to the CIBER in Neurodegenerative Diseases, the virtual center funded by the Carlos III Health Institute for the cooperative and transnational research of our country in neurodegeneration.
The group addresses the study of stem cells as a potential replacement therapy for lost neurons, with special relevance in molecules that can modulate the proliferation and / or differentiation of these stem cells towards a dopaminergic phenotype as well as those signals that induce self-renewing division of neural stem cells. In this line are made:
Characterization of niche derived signals and intracellular signaling pathways involved in the control of the maintenance of multipotency in neural stem cells,
studies of soluble niche factors that can modulate the response of neural stem cells and that can be implemented for use in improving the ex vivo cultures of these cells,
Characterization of niche-derived signals and intracellular signaling pathways involved in neurogenesis, especially dopaminergic from neural and embryonic stem cells,
study of the genetic stability of neural stem cell cultures over time in vitro,
understanding of the processes of uncontrolled expansion of neural stem cells and their relationship with tumor formation,
generation and analysis of induced pluripotent cells from skin biopsies of patients with PD and their potential for dopamine neurogenesis.
The research group is a member of the National Cell Therapy Network, funded by the Carlos III Health Institute for the promotion of therapeutic strategies that are based on the use of stem cells in degenerative pathologies and tissue engineering.
In the context of cell therapy, the research team has developed a new procedure that allows the self-renewal of stem cells through the new use of PEDF. The PEDF factor is a complex protein, which had already been identified in the state-of-the-art as a factor with multiple uses and applications on the organism, but the research team has identified a new use of the PEDF factor as a self-renewal factor , both in vivo and in vitro. The new use of the PEDF factor has been protected by patent application, to improve the efficiency and therapeutic potential of the treatments currently used in regenerative medicine, also facilitating the development of new drugs and new treatments based on cell therapy. It should be noted that various companies and institutions have expressed interest in the application of research results in various areas of regenerative medicine, such as for the treatment of injuries and cardiovascular diseases.