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María Teresa Miras Portugal

Name: Miras Portugal, María TeresaDr. Miras Portugal, María Teresa
Citizenship: Spanish
Institution: Complutense University of Madrid
Center: School of Veterinary Science
Address: Dept. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Av. Puerta de Hierro s/n
28040 Madrid. Spain
Phone: + 34 91 394 3894
Fax: + 34 91 394 3909


The main interest of our group is to understand the purinergic neurotransmission mediated by nucleotides. Our contributions in this field include the characterization of new nucleotide compounds, the dinucleotide ones, able to behave as agonists on nucleotide receptors and the search for new members of P2X and P2Y families. Metabotropic P2Y receptors are ubiquitous in mammalian cells exhibiting a precise distribution pattern and complex signalling cascades, among them GSK-3 and PKD modulation, have been found in our laboratory. Ionotropic P2X receptors were described to be present at the presynaptic terminals playing a leading role in synaptic functionality, due to their abundant presence, mainly of P2X7 and P2X3 receptors, which once stimulated induced Ca2+ entrance, exocytotic release of main neurotransmitters and cytoeskeletal reorganization.

The protein structure of P2X receptor subunits exhibits two transmembrane domains and intracellular N- and C-terminus. It is currently accepted that three subunits, in homomeric or heteromeric combination, are able to form the functional ligand-gated ion channel. Early studies from our group showed the relevance of protein kinases and phosphatases on the control of P2X receptors functional parameters: Ca2+ influx and agonists affinity. However the specific sequences involved in this regulation are poorly understood as are the membrane and subplasmalemmal proteins involved in such regulation. Cooperation will be required from the Consortium members to deeply analyse the functional structure of this channels that will allow understanding their function and control on relevant physiological and pathological situations.

It is worthy to notice that P2X7 has been recently proposed by our group as a main regulator of axonal growth and branching. Ionotropic and metabotropic components in this response are required to carry out the physiological function, and in vitro models have been developed to fully understand one of the processes that allow the functionality of the nervous system.

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