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Research Group
Molecular Neurobiology of Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors
Unit Unit Molecular Neurobiology »

Principal Investigator
Research Fields
The nicotine from tobacco produces certain neurovegetative and psychological effects upon its interaction with acetylcholine nicotinic receptors (nAChRs). These receptors are abundant at the human central and perypheral nervous systems and form a large family of ion channels subtypes activated by acetylcholine. During the past our group has studied nAChRs from different perspectives: structure, function, localization and transcriptional and posttranslational regulation. At the moment we are involved in two main projects. One of them is directed to structure-function relationships, regarding mainly mechanisms of channel activation or gating as a consequence of agonist binding. In this project we modify certain amino acids of receptor subunits and study the effect of mutations on the electrophysiological properties of the resultant channels. The other project plans the search for proteins that interact with nAChRs regulating their assembly, localization and/or function. Both projects made use of biochemical and molecular biology techniques combined with cell biology and electrophysiological studies.

Representative Publications

Criado M. , Mulet J.,Castillo M.,Gerber S.,Sala S.,Sala F. " The loop between beta-strands beta2 and beta3 and its interaction with the N-terminal alpha-helix is essential for biogenesis of alpha7 nicotinic receptors. " J Neurochem . 112(1) , 103 - 111 ( 2010 )

Alexander J. , Sagher D., Krivoshein A.,Criado M.,Jefford G.,Green W. " Ric-3 promotes alpha7 nicotinic receptor assembly and trafficking through the ER sub-compartment of dendrites. " J.Neurosci . 30 , 10112 - 10126 ( 2010 )

Castillo M. , Mulet, J., Aldea, M., Gerber, S., Sala, S., Sala, F., Criado, M. " Role of the N-terminal alpha-helix in biogenesis of alpha7 nicotinic receptors. " J. Neurochem . 108 , 1399 - 1409 ( 2009 )

Castelan F. , Castillo M,Mulet J, Sala S.,Sala F, Criado M. " Molecular characterization and localization of the RIC-3 protein, an effector of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expression. " J.Neurochem . 105 , 617 - 627 ( 2008 )

Criado M. , M., Mulet, J., Castillo, M., Aldea, M., Sala, S., Sala, F. " Interactions between loop 5 and Beta-strand Beta6’ are involved in Alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors channel gating. " J.Neurochem . 104 , 719 - 730 ( 2008 )
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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