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Laboratory PDZ proteins and Signaling Networks during the specification of neuronal identities
CSIC-Universidad Miguel Hernández
Campus de Sant Joan
Avenida Ramón y Cajal s/n
03550 - Sant Joan d´Alacant (Alicante)

+34 96 5919 -230 (office) or -249 (lab)
+34 96 5919561

Job opportunities

Dr Ana Carmena
Developmental Neurobiology
The Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante

Research Area

One of the big challenges in developmental neurobiology is to understand how the immense variety of neural types that constitute the nervous system is generated. Multiple studies have shown the essential role of different signal transduction pathways in this process. And over the past years it has also become apparent that signal transduction pathways are not mere linear cascades. Conversely, they are organized into complex signaling networks. However, the mechanisms by which signal transduction pathways within these networks are modulated and integrated are poorly understood.

PDZ (PSD-95, Dlg, ZO-1) domain-containing proteins are excellent candidates as hubs of cross-talk between signaling cascades during Development. In addition, malfunction of many PDZ proteins has been linked to diverse neuropathologies and types of cancer. The aim of our research is to analyze the function of PDZ proteins, including the cytoplasmic protein Canoe/AF-6, as signal integrators within signaling networks during the acquisition of unique cell fates throughout nervous system development. 

Please see also:


5 Selected Publications 

Slováková J., Speicher S., Sánchez-Soriano N., Prokop A., and Carmena A. (2012) The actin-binding protein Canoe/AF-6 forms a complex with Robo and is required for Slit-Robo signaling during axon pathfinding at the CNS midline. J Neurosci., 32 (29): 10035-44.

Carmena A., Makarova A., and Speicher S. (2011) The Rap1-Rgl-Ral signaling network regulates neuroblast cortical polarity and spindle orientation. J Cell Biol., 195 (4) 553-62.

Slováková J., and Carmena A. (2011) Canoe functions at the CNS midline glia in a complex with Shotgun and Wrapper-Nrx-IV during neuron-glia interactions. Development, 138 (8) 1563-71.

Carmena A. (2008) Canoe functions at the CNS midline glia in a complex with Shotgun and Wrapper-Nrx-ISignaling networks during development: the case of asymmetric cell division in the Drosophila nervous system. during neuron-glia interactions. Dev Biol., 321 (1) 1-17.

Speicher S., Fischer A., Knoblich J., and Carmena A. (2008)The PDZ protein Canoe regulates the asymmetric division of Drosophila neuroblasts and muscle progenitors. Curr Biol., 18 (11) 831-37.


Fellowships, Awards and Honours 

2012            Member of the ISRN Developmental Biology Editorial Board   
2011            Member of the TheScientificWorldJOURNAL Editorial Board   
2005            Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant 
2003            Ramón y Cajal Young Investigator   
2000            Human Frontier SPO Postdoctoral Fellow
1998            EMBO Postdoctoral Fellow                                  

Technical Expertise
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Proteomics
  • Confocal Microscopy