Professor Rafael Fernández-Chacón Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS) – The Neuroscience Institute at Seville

Molecular Biology of Presynaptic Function

  • Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS)
  • [email protected]
  • +34-955-923-047 (Office) /-045 (Laboratory)
  • +34-955-923101
  • Spain

Team Lead

About Professor Rafael Fernández-Chacón

Our group studies the molecular mechanisms that maintain synaptic function and synaptic structure . A major goal in our lab is to elucidate the role of Cysteine String Protein-alpha (CSP-alpha), a molecular co-chaperone located at the synaptic vesicles that prevents synaptic degeneration. A clinical scope of our studies comes from a recent finding of mutations in the human gene coding for CSP-alpha (DNAJC5) causing autosomal-dominant adult-onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL4), a devastating neurodegenerative disease in young adults. We are currently generating new mouse lines baring those mutations in order to develop NCL-4 mouse models. Our laboratory routinely uses molecular and cell biology, mouse genetics and patch-clamp electrophysiology in brain slices and in neuronal cultures to monitor synaptic activity and pHluorin based markers to image the synaptic vesicle cycle.

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Selected Publications

Kastl L., Sasse D., Wulf V., Hartmann R., Mircheski J., Ranke C., Carregal-Romero S., Martínez-López JA., Fernández-Chacón R., Parak WJ., Elsasser HP., Rivera Gil P. (2013) Multiple internalization pathways of polyelectrolyte multilayer capsules into mammalian cells. ACS Nano. , 7 (8) : 6605-18.

Rozas JL., Gómez-Sánchez L., Mircheski J., Linares-Clemente P., Nieto-Gonzalez JL., Vázquez ME., Luján R., Fernández-Chacón R. (2012) Motorneurons require cysteine string protein-α to maintain the readily releasable vesicular pool and synaptic vesicle recycling. Neuron.,  74 (1) : 151-65.

Rozas JL., Gómez-Sánchez L., Tomás-Zapico C., Lucas JJ., Fernandez-Chacon R. (2011) Increased neurotransmitter release at the neuromuscular junction in a mouse model of polyglutamine disease. J. Neurosci ., 31 (3) : 1106-13.

Rozas JL., Gómez-Sánchez L., Tomás-Zapico C., Lucas JJ., Fernandez-Chacon R. (2010) Presynaptic dysfunction in Huntington’s disease. Biochem. Soc. Trans ., 38 (2) : 488-92.

García-Junco-Clemente P., Cantero-Nieto G., Gómez-Sánchez L., Linares-Clemente P., Martínez-López JA., Luján R., Fernandez-Chacon R.(2010) Cysteine string protein-alpha prevents activity-dependent degeneration in GABAergic synapses. J. Neurosci. , 30 : 7377-91.

Fernández-Chacón R., Königstorfer A., Gerber S.H., García J., Matos M.F., Stevens C.F., Brose N., Rizo J., Rosenmund C., Südhof T.C. “Synaptotagmin I functions as a calcium regulator of release probability” Nature , 410:41-9 (2001).

Awards, Fellowships and Honours

2013        Grass Imaging Award
2001        European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Young Investigator
2001        Young Investigator Award of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Seville
1996        Seville´s City Hall Ph.D. Thesis Award
1996        University of Seville Ph.D. Thesis Award
1995        Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship