Institute Neurociencias

Sant Joan Despí, Spain

Institute Neurociencias

Sant Joan Despí, Spain
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Lerma J.,Institute Neurociencias | Marques J.M.,Institute Neurociencias
Neuron | Year: 2013

Our understanding of the molecular properties of kainate receptors and their involvement in synaptic physiology has progressed significantly over the last 30 years. A plethora of studies indicate that kainate receptors are important mediators of the pre- and postsynaptic actions of glutamate, although the mechanisms underlying such effects are still often a topic for discussion. Three clear fields related to their behavior have emerged: there are a number of interacting proteins that pace the properties of kainate receptors; their activity is unconventional since they can also signal through G proteins, behaving like metabotropic receptors; they seem to be linked to some devastating brain diseases. Despite the significant progress in their importance in brain function, kainate receptors remain somewhat puzzling. Here we examine discoveries linking these receptors to physiology and their probable implications in disease, in particular mood disorders, and propose some ideas to obtain a deeper understanding of these intriguing proteins.

Slovakova J.,Institute Neurociencias | Speicher S.,Institute Neurociencias | Sanchez-Soriano N.,Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Matrix Research | Prokop A.,Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Matrix Research | Carmena A.,Institute Neurociencias
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2012

Axon guidance is a key process during nervous system development and regeneration. One of the best established paradigms to study the mechanisms underlying this process is the axon decision of whether or not to cross the midline in the Drosophila CNS. An essential regulator of that decision is the well conserved Slit-Robo signaling pathway. Slit guidance cues act through Robo receptors to repel axons from the midline. Despite good progress in our knowledge about these proteins, the intracellular mechanisms associated with Robo function remain poorly defined. In this work, we found that the scaffolding protein Canoe (Cno), the Drosophila orthologue of AF-6/Afadin, is essential for Slit-Robo signaling. Cno is expressed along longitudinal axonal pioneer tracts, and longitudinal Robo/Fasciclin2-positive axons aberrantly cross the midline in cno mutant embryos. cno mutant primary neurons show a significant reduction of Robo localized in growth cone filopodia and Cno forms a complex with Robo in vivo. Moreover, the commissureless (comm) phenotype (i.e., lack of commissures due to constitutive surface presentation of Robo in all neurons) is suppressed in comm, cno double-mutant embryos. Specific genetic interactions between cno, slit, robo, and genes encoding other components of the Robo pathway, such as Neurexin-IV, Syndecan, and Rac GTPases, further confirm that Cno functionally interacts with the Slit-Robo pathway. Our data argue that Cno is a novel regulator of the Slit-Robo signaling pathway, crucial for regulating the subcellular localization of Robo and for transducing its signaling to the actin cytoskeleton during axon guidance at the midline. © 2012 the authors.

Martinez-Ferre A.,Institute Neurociencias | Martinez S.,Institute Neurociencias
Frontiers in Neuroscience | Year: 2012

The anatomic complexity of the diencephalon depends on precise molecular and cellular regulative mechanisms orchestrated by regional morphogenetic organizers at the neural tube stage. In the diencephalon, like in other neural tube regions, dorsal and ventral signals codify positional information to specify ventro-dorsal regionalization. Retinoic acid, Fgf8, BMPs, and Wnts signals are the molecular factors acting upon the diencephalic epithelium to specify dorsal structures, while Shh is the main ventralizing signal. A central diencephalic organizer, the zona limitans intrathalamica (ZLI), appears after neurulation in the central diencephalic alar plate, establishing additional antero-posterior positional information inside diencephalic alar plate. Based on Shh expression, the ZLI acts as a morphogenetic center, which cooperates with other signals in thalamic specification and pattering in the alar plate of diencephalon. Indeed, Shh is expressed first in the basal plate extending dorsally through the ZLI epithelium as the development proceeds. Despite the importance of ZLI in diencephalic morphogenesis the mechanisms that regulate its development remain incompletely understood. Actually, controversial interpretations in different experimental models have been proposed. That is, experimental results have suggested that (i) the juxtaposition of the molecularly heterogeneous neuroepithelial areas, (ii) cell reorganization in the epithelium, and/or (iii) planar and vertical inductions in the neural epithelium, are required for ZLI specification and development. We will review some experimental data to approach the study of the molecular regulation of diencephalic regionalization, with special interest in the cellular mechanisms underlying planar inductions. © 2012 Martinez-Ferre and Martinez.

Reis S.D.S.,City College of New York | Reis S.D.S.,Federal University of Ceará | Hu Y.,City College of New York | Babino A.,FCEN UBA | And 6 more authors.
Nature Physics | Year: 2014

Networks in nature do not act in isolation, but instead exchange information and depend on one another to function properly. Theory has shown that connecting random networks may very easily result in abrupt failures. This finding reveals an intriguing paradox: if natural systems organize in interconnected networks, how can they be so stable? Here we provide a solution to this conundrum, showing that the stability of a system of networks relies on the relation between the internal structure of a network and its pattern of connections to other networks. Specifically, we demonstrate that if interconnections are provided by network hubs, and the connections between networks are moderately convergent, the system of networks is stable and robust to failure. We test this theoretical prediction on two independent experiments of functional brain networks (in task and resting states), which show that brain networks are connected with a topology that maximizes stability according to the theory.

Carmena A.,Institute Neurociencias
Small GTPases | Year: 2012

Members of the Ras superfamily of small guanosine triphosphatases (GTPases) function as key nodes within signaling networks in a remarkable range of cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, growth, cell-cell adhesion and apoptosis. We recently described a novel role for the Ras-like small GTPases Rap1 and Ral in regulating cortical polarity and spindle orientation during asymmetric neuroblast division in Drosophila. The participation of these proteins in promoting cell polarization seems to be a common theme throughout evolution.

Acloque H.,Institute Neurociencias | Ocana O.,Institute Neurociencias | Matheu A.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | Rizzoti K.,UK National Institute for Medical Research | And 3 more authors.
Developmental Cell | Year: 2011

In developing amniote embryos, the first epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurs at gastrulation, when a subset of epiblast cells moves to the primitive streak and undergoes EMT to internalize and generate the mesoderm and the endoderm. We show that in the chick embryo this decision to internalize is mediated by reciprocal transcriptional repression of Snail2 and Sox3 factors. We also show that the relationship between Sox3 and Snail is conserved in the mouse embryo and in human cancer cells. In the embryo, Snail-expressing cells ingress at the primitive streak, whereas Sox3-positive cells, which are unable to ingress, ensure the formation of ectodermal derivatives. Thus, the subdivision of the early embryo into the two main territories, ectodermal and mesendodermal, is regulated by changes in cell behavior mediated by the antagonistic relationship between Sox3 and Snail transcription factors. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Da Ros V.G.,Institute Neurociencias | Gutierrez-Perez I.,Institute Neurociencias | Ferres-Marco D.,Institute Neurociencias | Dominguez M.,Institute Neurociencias
PLoS Biology | Year: 2013

Fine-tuned Notch and Hedgehog signalling pathways via attenuators and dampers have long been recognized as important mechanisms to ensure the proper size and differentiation of many organs and tissues. This notion is further supported by identification of mutations in these pathways in human cancer cells. However, although it is common that the Notch and Hedgehog pathways influence growth and patterning within the same organ through the establishment of organizing regions, the cross-talk between these two pathways and how the distinct organizing activities are integrated during growth is poorly understood. Here, in an unbiased genetic screen in the Drosophila melanogaster eye, we found that tumour-like growth was provoked by cooperation between the microRNA miR-7 and the Notch pathway. Surprisingly, the molecular basis of this cooperation between miR-7 and Notch converged on the silencing of Hedgehog signalling. In mechanistic terms, miR-7 silenced the interference hedgehog (ihog) Hedgehog receptor, while Notch repressed expression of the brother of ihog (boi) Hedgehog receptor. Tumourigenesis was induced co-operatively following Notch activation and reduced Hedgehog signalling, either via overexpression of the microRNA or through specific down-regulation of ihog, hedgehog, smoothened, or cubitus interruptus or via overexpression of the cubitus interruptus repressor form. Conversely, increasing Hedgehog signalling prevented eye overgrowth induced by the microRNA and Notch pathway. Further, we show that blocking Hh signal transduction in clones of cells mutant for smoothened also enhance the organizing activity and growth by Delta-Notch signalling in the wing primordium. Together, these findings uncover a hitherto unsuspected tumour suppressor role for the Hedgehog signalling and reveal an unanticipated cooperative antagonism between two pathways extensively used in growth control and cancer. © 2013 Da Ros et al.

Nieto M.A.,Institute Neurociencias | Cano A.,Uam Institute Investigaciones Biomedicas Alberto Sols Csic Uam
Seminars in Cancer Biology | Year: 2012

The epithelial to mesenchymal transition or EMT has become one of the most exciting fields in cancer research. Nevertheless, its relevance in tumor biology and the metastatic process still faces some controversy. Clarification may arise when considering the EMT as a reversible and often incomplete process, essentially a manifestation of strong epithelial plasticity. Transient cellular states are generated to fulfill specific requirements in each and all the steps of the metastatic process, from primary tumor cell detachment to dissemination and colonization. Opposing multiple cellular programs that promote or prevent EMT, thereby destabilizing or reinforcing epithelial integrity, play a central role in the inherent cellular dynamics of cancer progression. These cell biology programs not only drive cells towards the epithelial or the mesenchymal state but also impinge into multiple cellular and global responses including proliferation, stemness, chemo and immunotherapy resistance, inflammation and immunity, all relevant for the development of the metastatic disease. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Dominguez M.,Institute Neurociencias
Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology | Year: 2014

The inappropriate Notch signalling can influence virtually all aspect of cancer, including tumour-cell growth, survival, apoptosis, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis, although it does not do this alone. Hence, elucidating the partners of Notch that are active in cancer is now the focus of much intense research activity. The genetic toolkits available, coupled to the small size and short life of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, makes this an inexpensive and effective animal model, suited to large-scale cancer gene discovery studies. The fly eye is not only a non-vital organ but its stereotyped size and disposition also means it is easy to screen for mutations that cause tumours and metastases and provides ample opportunities to test cancer theories and to unravel unanticipated nexus between Notch and other cancer genes, or to discover unforeseen Notch's partners in cancer. These studies suggest that Notch's oncogenic capacity is brought about not simply by increasing signal strength but through partnerships, whereby oncogenes gain more by cooperating than acting individually, as in a ring 'organized crime'. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Oligodendrocytes are the myelin-forming cells in the central nervous system of vertebrates. Oligodendrocyte precursors arise from multiple restricted foci distributed along the antero-posterior axis of the developing brain. In chick and mouse embryos, oligodendrocyte precursors of the anterior forebrain emerge from neuroepithelial cells of the subpallium and migrate tangentially to invade the entire telencephalon (Olivier et al. (2001) Development 128:1757-1769). In the diencephalon, oligodendrocyte neuroepithelial precursors seem to be mainly located in the basal plate of caudal prosomeres, but very little is known about their distribution and maturation at later stages of embryonic development. Thus, in this work, we studied the origin and migration of oligodendrocyte precursos in the diencephalon of quail-chick chimeras. Homotopic and homochronic grafts demonstrated that, during embryonic development, diencephalic oligodendrocytes emerge from a common neuroepithelial domain in the basal plate of prosomere 1 and migrate tangentially, invading the dorsal regions of the diencephalic prosomeres and the telencephalon. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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