Retinitis pigmentosa covers a group of rare genetic disorders that cause retinal degeneration due to a loss of photoreceptors, the specialized cell-sensitive neurons that enable eyesight. By transplanting Wnt-activated hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) we demonstrated that Muller cells can be reprogrammed in vivo after fusion with HSPCs. The newly generated hybrids can differentiate in photoreceptors leading to partial retina regeneration and to a certain degree of functional rescue. Sanges D, Simonte G DiVicino U, Romo N, Pinilla I, Nicolás Farrés M and Cosma MP (2016). In vivo conversion of Müller glia into photoreceptors through cell fusion-mediated reprogramming. Journal of Clinical Investigation, Aug 1;126(8):3104-3116
Alvaro Castells, PhD student in our lab, has scored second in the RIN4’ (Research in 4 Minutes) competition. This contest, open to all doctorates in the UPF, aims to promote the communicative abilities of the doctorates students in the Pompeu Fabra University, in order to improve their scientific communication skills.
Alvaro won the second prize, valued in 600 euros, with his presentation “Using super resolution microscopy to study RNA”, which allowed him to win for second consecutive year the second position.
His presentation was centered on STORM (Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy) technique, which bypasses the resolution limit of conventional microscopy (200nm) and allows the study of different cellular processes in a previous unachieved resolution.
Our paper on Parkinson’s disease therapy is in press in EBioMedicine (http://www.ebiomedicine.com/article/S2352-3964(16)30151-7/abstract), a new online journal supported by Cell press and Lancet. A definitive therapy for Parkinson’s disease is not available. In this work, we transplanted hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells into the substantia nigra of brains of two different mouse models of Parkinson’s disease. These transplanted cells fused with neurons and glial cells of the recipient mice. Four weeks after transplantation, the hybrids acquired features of mature astroglia, secreted Wnt1, and functionally ameliorated dopaminergic neuron loss. Current cell therapy approaches are being pursued in the striatum with the aim to increase dopamine levels. Here we show that the loss of dopaminergic neurons can be protected against by direct actions in the substantia nigra.
Altarche-Xifro W, Di Vicino U, Muñoz-Martin MI, Bové J, Vila M and Cosma MP (2016). Functional rescue of dopaminergic neuron loss in Parkinson’s disease mice after transplantation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, EBioMedicine, in press.
In March 2016 I was honored to receive the “Ciutat de Barcelona” award 2015 in Life Science for our work carried out in collaboration with Melike Lakadamyali group. The ceremony took place at the “Saló de Cent de l’Ajuntament de Barcelona”. The event can be seen at : BTV: http://www.btv.cat/alacarta/btv-directe/43673/
Pictures by ©pepherrero
With Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona….
With Maria Aurelia Ricci, the first author of our work published in Cell 2015….
Our work published in Cell last year ( Ricci MA, Manzo C, García-Parajo M, *Lakadamyali M, and *Cosma MP (2015). Chromatin fibers are formed by heterogeneous groups of nucleosomes in vivo. Cell, *co-last authors. Nominated F1000Prime 2015) has been selected to be among the best 8 research in Spain. In collaboration with the group of Melike Lakadamyali using super resolution microscopy we dissected out the nanoscale organisation of the nucleosome assembly in a variety of somatic and stem/ reprogrammed cells. We discovered that nucleosomes are arranged into discrete groups, which we called ‘nucleosome clutches’ (in analogy with egg clutches) and not in a regular hierarchical structure, as it was believed for a long time and is reported in textbooks. Nucleosome median number and clutch compaction correlate closely with cellular state.
Picture by David Airob, La Vanguardia