Experimental and Computational Neurology (UPM-HURyC)

Target: To elucidate the role that intercellular communication by connexins has in the physiology of different tissues upon normal and pathological conditions. Connexins are proteins with an extraordinary complexity derived from their ability to mediate ionic and metabolic transference between cells. In addition Connexins are involved in different aspects of cell signalling, including quiescence/proliferation balance, cell adhession and migration, or resistance to injury. The identification of several human disorders associated with impaired Connexin functions (Connexinopathies) has emphasized the potentiality of these proteins in the regulation of different cellular processes.

Description: Our team is formed by investigators with different scientific profiles from CTB and Hospital Ramón & Cajal. Currently our activity is covering several areas of research:

1) The study of electrical synapses mediated by Connexin-36 in the generation and maintenance of electrical activity in the brain upon normal and pathologic conditions such as the epilepsy.

2) The role of connexins in the pan-glial syncitium and their function in myelin regulation and maintenance in peripheral and central nervous system.

3) The role of Connexins in the bone marrow stem cell niche. We try to clarify the role exerted by connexins regulating the interaction between the hematopoietic stem cells and the stroma microenviorment, and analyze the relevance of such interaction in bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy and stem cell mobilization procedures.

4) To investigate the neurogenic potential of BM mesenchymal stem cells in the treatment of stroke.

 Techniques:

1. Electrophysyiological techniques: a) EEG recordings in animal models; b) Dual Voltage-clamp in xenopus laevis oocytes

2. Cell and molecular biology techniques: Cell cultering, Flow citometry, direct-site mutagenesis, cDNA clonning, RT-PCR, Western-Blot, inmunohistochemistry, exogenous expression in different cell lines, retroviral and lentiviral transduction, migration and adhession assays, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell isolation and expansion, Bone marrow transplant, homing and mobilization assays.

 Infrastructure:

1. Culture cell room with complete equipment: including laminar flow hood, cells incubators, centrifuges, thermocycler, fluorescence microscope, microscope for cell counting and checking, freezers (-80 & -20) etc.

2. Setup for EEG recording in animal models.

3. Complete availability of Hospital Ramón & Cajal resources, including: Electrophysiology setups for voltage-clamp and patch-clamp, FacsCanto II Cytometer, Confocal Microscope.

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