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Instituto de Neurociencias
UMH-CSIC
Campus de Sant Joan
Avenida Ramón y Cajal, s/n
03550 - Sant Joan díAlacant (Alicante)
Spain

+34 965 919220
+34 965 919561


Job opportunities

Prof Juan Lerma
Synaptic Physiology, Cell and Systemic Neurobiology
The Instituto de Neurociencias de Alicante

Research Area

Glutamate acts as a neurotransmitter at most excitatory synapses and is involved in long-lasting plastic phenomena as well as in neuronal dead-associated pathology such as neurodegeneration. Our group characterized and identified functions for one of the glutamate receptors largely elusive to researchers, the kainate receptor. Two fundamental findings paved the way to this extent. Once the existence of these receptors in central neurons was demonstrated, the identification of a selective antagonist made possible their pharmacological isolation. As a result, we and others have found that the function of kainate receptors is double. They may work presynaptically to modulate transmitter release and postsynaptically, mediating part of the synaptic transmission at certain central synapses. Therefore, the general objective of our current project is to get further insight into the knowledge of these two functions in the brain. Moreover, although these receptors are ion channels, some of their modulatory capabilities involve triggering of a cascade of second messengers, implicating the existence of a non-canonical signalling pathway. We seek to identify the elements involved in such a pathway as well as to define their functional role in several aspects of the brain physiology. To this extent we are currently trying to identify proteins interacting with kainate receptors subunits by using a proteomic approach. The role of these proteins is investigated by performing biochemical, electrophysiological and confocal Ca2+ imaging experiments in brain slices and cultured neurons from normal and KO mice.

Please see also: htttp://in.umh.es/grupos-detalle.aspx?grupo=29


Publications

5 Selected Publications

Mire E., Mezzera C., Leyva-Díaz E., Paternain AV., Squarzoni P., Bluy E., Castillo-Paterna M., López MJ., Peregrín S., Tessier-Lavigne M., Garel S., Galcerán J., Lerma J., López-Bendito G. (2012) Spontaneous activity mediates a developmental switch in thalamocortical axon growth by regulating Robo1 transcription. Nat. Neurosci., 15 (8) : 1134–43.

Lerma J. (2011) Net(o) excitement for Kainate receptors. Nat. Neurosci., 14 (7) : 808-10.

Lau GC., Takayasu Y., Rodenas-Ruano A., Paternain AV., Lerma J., Bennett MVL., and Zukin RS. (2010) SNAP-25 is a target of protein kinase C phosphorylation critical to NMDA receptor trafficking. J. Neurosci., 30 (1): 242–54.

Fazzari F., Paternain AV., Valiente M., Pla R., Luján R., Lloyd K., Lerma J., Marín O. and Rico B. (2010) Control of cortical GABA circuitry development by Nrg1/ErbB4 signalling. Nature, 464 (7293) : 1376-80.

Selak S., Paternain AV., Aller IM., Picó E., Rivera R., Lerma J. (2009) A role for SNAP25 in internalization of kainate receptors and synaptic plasticity. Neuron., 63 (3): 357-71.

 

Fellowships, Awards and Honours

2011            President of Spanish Society for Neuroscience (SENC) (until today)
2011            Member of the Experts Panel, the Research and Innovation National Strategy (MICINN)
2011            Member of Academia Europaea (The Academy of Europe)
2010            Chairman of the PanEuropean Committee of IBRO (until 2013)
2010            Member of the Experts Panel of “Profarma” (MIT&MICINN)
2010            Member of FENS-IBRO European Neuroscience Schools Committee
2010            Chairman of the Western European Regional Committee of IBRO
2005            Member of European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB)
2005            XI Award “Alberto Sols” to the Best Research Activity
2004            CEOE Foundation Award to the Sciences
2002            Award for Scientific Excellence “Alonso Gabriel de Herrera”
2002            Santiago Grisolía Chair Award (with Matt Mattson)
2000            Member of European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
1998            Distinguished Scientist in Neurobiological Research, Health Science Foundation


Technical Expertise
  • Excitatory Synaptic Transmission
  • Synaptic Plasticity
  • Learning and memory
  • Epilepsy, Schizophrenia, Autism