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Research Group
Molecular control of neuronal axon myelination
Unit Unit Molecular Neurobiology »

Principal Investigator Graduate students Technician
Research Fields
Nerve conduction velocity is inversely proportional to the electrical resistance of the axon and the capacitance of the plasma membrane that surrounds it. To increase nerve impulse velocity some invertebrates (such as squid) decreases resistance of the axon by greatly increasing its diameter. In more complex nervous systems, like higher vertebrates, this would increase by more than a hundred times the volume of the nervous system. To increase nerve conduction velocity without changing the axonal diameter (and nervous system volume) it is necessary to reduce the capacitance by increasing the thickness of the lipid membrane surrounding the axon. This has been achieved in vertebrates by depositing large amounts of plasma membrane of specialized hypertrophied neighboring cells (oligodendrocytes or Schwann cells). Rudolf Virchow first described this membrane, known as “myelin”, in 1854. Recently it has been established that the decision whether or not an axon is "myelinated" as well as the thickness of the myelin sheath depends on the axonal levels of a particular type of protein of the family of “neuregulins”.

In our group we try to elucidate the molecular mechanisms controlling the axonal myelination. Our goal is to use this information to develop new strategies in the treatment of demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Canavan disease in the central nervous system, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth in the peripheral nervous system. We also use this information to try to improve nerve regeneration after traumatic injuries. In order to achieve our goals we use state-of-the-art technologies such us Next-Generation Sequencing of patient’s DNA and genetic modification of mice using both conventional and the CRISPR/CAS9 technology.

Representative Publications

Gomez-Sanchez JA , Gomis-Coloma C, Morenilla-Palao C, Peiro G, Serra E, Serrano M, Cabedo H " Epigenetic induction of the Ink4a/Arf locus prevents Schwann cell overproliferation during nerve regeneration and after tumorigenic challenge " Brain . 136(7) , 2262 - 78 ( 2013 )

Donier E , Gomez-Sanchez JA, Grijota-Martinez C, Lakomá J, Baars S, Garcia-Alonso L, Cabedo H. " L1CAM binds ErbB receptors through Ig-like domains coupling cell adhesion and neuregulin signalling " PLoS One . 7(7) , e40674 - ( 2012 )

Gomez-Sanchez JA, , Lopez de Armentia M, Lujan R, Kessaris N, Richardson WD, Cabedo H. " Sustained axon-glial signaling induces Schwann cell hyperproliferation, Remak bundle myelination, and tumorigenesis. " J Neurosci . 29(36) , 11304 - 11315 ( 2009 )

Pertusa M* , Morenilla-Palao C*,Carteron C,Viana F,Cabedo H. " Transcriptional control of cholesterol of biosynthesis in Schwann cells by axonal neuregulin 1. " J.Biol.Chem . , 28968 - 28998 ( 2007 ) * Co-author

Carteron C. , Ferrer-Montiel A., Cabedo H. " Characterization of a neural-specific splicing form of the human neuregulin 3 gene involved in oligodendrocyte survival. " J Cell Sci . 119(5) , 898 - 909 ( 2006 )
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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