The principal goal of studies in this laboratory is to understand the systems of intercellular communication during different complex physiological processes. Distinct cellular and molecular aspects of these processes are studied using modern techniques and concepts from electrophysiology and molecular and cell biology. Our research uses cellular models for folliculogenesis and neuron-glia communication, which represent important paradigms for the study of cellular interactions. The importance of intercellular communication in folliculogenesis is evident due to the interdependence between the different cellular components of the follicle that communicate via chemical and electrical signaling mechanisms, both of which are fundamental for the proper development of the gamete. In order to learn more about these pathways we are studying follicles from Xenopus and from different mammals.
Communication between neurons and glia is important for proper operation of the nervous system, and their multiple interactions have a role in essential neuronal functions, such as action potential propagation, chemical signaling, and plasticity. In order to elucidate these interactions, we study signaling mechanisms in the mammalian optic nerve and in cultured oligodendrocytes. Our goal is to describe and analyze the different communication pathways in these models, from the molecular elements involved, to the physiological consequences of their activation. For this, our work is focused on the role of purinergic communication, a pathway that is stimulated by transmitters used by different cells, and is fundamental in several physiological processes.