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: 202009231131094fe78c91
cell survival
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109731e8246
ciliary body
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131092055e089
development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109e37f032f
differentiation
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109f0f28128
electroretinography: non-clinical
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2020092311310929584903
fluorescent in situ hybridization
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109a0111568
ganglion cells
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109b7ad04aa
gene/expression
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109dc2eefdc
growth factors/growth factor receptors
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109ecec0e82
immunohistochemistry
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109d811f942
in situ hybridization
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2020092311310996d06fb0
microscopy: confocal/tunneling
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2020092311310905da8f98
microscopy: electron microscopy
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109cd9c423c
microscopy: light/fluorescence/immunohistochemistry
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109c1b0b132
nerve fiber layer
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109040d549c
optic disc
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131098247a882
optic nerve
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109d49e603b
pathology: experimental
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131090b8750a7
photoreceptors
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109701d58df
proliferation
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109cc4f3c05
protein structure/function
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109770f22bd
proteolysis
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109a3d42567
retina
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109859cc4eb
retinal degenerations: cell biology
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131090170b470
retinal degenerations: hereditary
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131094364ac0a
retinal development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 2020092311310999043148
retinal pigment epithelium
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131092d8c4fd8
retinitis pigmentosa
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109a230d2c8
signal transduction
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109bdb508c4
transcription factors
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109b6eb8268
transgenics/knock-outs
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109b2b80888
visual development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 202009231131095139005b
optic cup development
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109f248c626
morphogenetic signalling
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109fcbf2626
gene regulatory networks
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109e940d7b1
axon guidance
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109097f0b64
neurodegeneration
Oops, an error occurred! Code: 20200923113109e91269e7