You are here: vision-research.eu » People » Research Groups » Spain » Bovolenta, Paola

Research Group of Paola Bovolenta - Lab 426

The research interest of our group is aimed at defining the molecular mechanisms that control the early development of the vertebrate nervous system. Our main objectives are: (1) understanding the molecular mechanisms that allow the progressive specification of a common progenitor cell into different cell types and (2) studying how some of these mechanisms are reused at later stages of development to establish proper connections among neurons. We believe that the vertebrate eye is one of the most fascinating systems to address these questions since its main components (the neural retina, the pigmented epithelium and the optic nerve) have very different morphological and functional properties, in spite of their common origin from a single primordium, the optic vesicle.

Our experimental approach is multidisciplinary and involves the use of several techniques (biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, experimental embryology, transgenesis, gain-or loss-of function studies) applied to different model organisms: mouse, chick and teleost fishes. Specifically, we are studying the transcriptional network that control optic vesicle specification, analysing the promoters of three crucial transcription factors (Six3, Six6 and Otx2) and searching for the their down-stream target genes. We are also investigating the contribution of SFRP1, BMP7, SHH and FGF, secreted molecules that activate different signalling pathways, to optic vesicle morphogenesis and retina neurogenesis, including their role in the control of retina ganglion cell growth cone movements.

Besides expanding our knowledge in development neurobiology, understanding eye development has the potential added value of pinpointing to the causes of specific ocular pathologies, most notably congenital eye malformation and neurodegenerative diseases. In this respect, we are interested in understanding the molecular basis of congenital retinal dystrophies (RD), a collection of very frequent neurodegenerative diseases with a heterogeneous genetic origin that lead to a progressive loss of visual acuity, culminating in blindness. RD are characterised by photoreceptor cell death, a process that begins in a restricted group of cells and thereafter extends to the entire retina. We are testing the hypothesis that this behaviour may be caused by the activity of signalling pathways that, independently of the genetic origin of the disease, contribute to cell death spreading. The analysis of the components of these possible pathways may lead to the identification of compounds capable of interfering with the propagation of retina degeneration.

Group Leader

Paola Bovolenta
[more information]

Contact

Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Consejo Superior Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CBMSO)

c/Nicolas Cabrera 1
Campus de la Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
Cantoblanco

28049 Madrid
Spain

Phone: + 34 91 196 4718
Fax: + 34 91 1964420

Email:
pbovolenta[at]cbm.uam.es

Methodology

  • Multidisciplinary approaches involving biochemistry,
  • cell and molecular biology,
  • experimental embryology,
  • transgenesis,
  • gain-or loss-of function studies.

Scientific Cooperations

  • Sandro Banfi, TIGEM, Naples Italy
  • Akihiko Shimono, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore
  • Isabel Guerrero, CBMSO, CSIC Madrid
  • Santiago Rodriguez de Cordoba, CIB, CSIC Madrid
  • Miguel Torres, CNIC, ISCIII, Madrid

Current Research Projects

  • Project 1:
    Sfrp1, a candidate molecule to prevent retinal degeneration
  • Project 2:
    To identify the genetic networks in which Six genes operate during visual system specification, with the aim of identifying new factor involved in MAC
  • Project 3:
    To explore the implication and mechanism action of Sfrp proteins in visual structures’ assembly
  • Project 4:
    To investigate the implication of Shh signalling in the establishment of retino-tectal connectivity, exploring the underlying mechanisms of action

Research Groups

People

Related Research Groups

cell-cell communication
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737ddde20d3
cell survival
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737d7285da8
ciliary body
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737d1a6ceba
development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737f69b2a30
differentiation
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737f06285de
electroretinography: non-clinical
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117377b16d97c
fluorescent in situ hybridization
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737b6a3dcb6
ganglion cells
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737db838499
gene/expression
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737e0dbc042
growth factors/growth factor receptors
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117370502f54b
immunohistochemistry
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737c1f6b8ad
in situ hybridization
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117375a82bda2
microscopy: confocal/tunneling
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737130999de
microscopy: electron microscopy
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2019081801173714614cdf
microscopy: light/fluorescence/immunohistochemistry
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117372b359aa1
nerve fiber layer
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737a8a46394
optic disc
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117375feac1d0
optic nerve
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117372b5a35f5
pathology: experimental
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117379370e73b
photoreceptors
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2019081801173701905096
proliferation
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2019081801173710abaa33
protein structure/function
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737909bb1e1
proteolysis
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737d07c837f
retina
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117375e86469c
retinal degenerations: cell biology
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117374a3f5260
retinal degenerations: hereditary
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117371e17170f
retinal development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737ab7339e1
retinal pigment epithelium
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737a0b2b5b8
retinitis pigmentosa
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737d5db135b
signal transduction
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 201908180117374af18a61
transcription factors
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737e852dc9d
transgenics/knock-outs
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737b96f16e0
visual development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737cb1b3b50
optic cup development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737de7c5f3a
morphogenetic signalling
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20190818011737eaef256c
gene regulatory networks
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2019081801173703811450
axon guidance
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2019081801173785b02bef
neurodegeneration
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2019081801173705dd8d8f