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Steering Committee

Instituto de Neurociencias
UMH-CSIC Unidad de Neurobiología
del Desarrollo CSIC y Universidad Miguel Hernández
Campus de Sant Joan
- Alicante

+34 965919220
+34 965919561

Job opportunities

Dr Juan Lerma
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 are investigated by performing biochemical, electrophysiological and confocal Ca2+ imaging experiments in brain slices and cultured neurons from normal and KO mice.


Technical Expertise