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Research Group
Molecular control of neuronal axon myelination
Unit Unit Molecular Neurobiology and Neuropathology »

Principal Investigator Ph.D. Investigator Graduate students / Research Assistant Master Students Technician
Research Fields
Nerve conduction velocity is inversely proportional to the electrical resistance of the axon and the capacitance of the plasma membrane that surrounds it. To increase nerve impulse velocity some invertebrates (such as squid) decreases resistance of the axon by greatly increasing its diameter. In more complex nervous systems, like higher vertebrates, this would increase by more than a hundred times the volume of the nervous system. To increase nerve conduction velocity without changing the axonal diameter (and nervous system volume) it is necessary to reduce the capacitance by increasing the thickness of the lipid membrane surrounding the axon. This has been achieved in vertebrates by depositing large amounts of plasma membrane of specialized hypertrophied neighboring cells (oligodendrocytes or Schwann cells). Rudolf Virchow first described this membrane, known as “myelin”, in 1854. Recently it has been established that the decision whether or not an axon is "myelinated" as well as the thickness of the myelin sheath depends on the axonal levels of a particular type of protein of the family of “neuregulins”.

In our group we try to elucidate the molecular mechanisms controlling the axonal myelination. Our goal is to use this information to develop new strategies in the treatment of demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Canavan disease in the central nervous system, and Charcot-Marie-Tooth in the peripheral nervous system. We also use this information to try to improve nerve regeneration after traumatic injuries. In order to achieve our goals we use state-of-the-art technologies such us Next-Generation Sequencing of patient’s DNA and genetic modification of mice using both conventional and the CRISPR/CAS9 technology.

Representative Publications

Wagstaff LJ , Gomez-Sanchez JA, Fazal SV, Otto GW, Kilpatrick AM, Michael K, Wong LYN, Ma KH, Turmaine M, Svaren J, Gordon T, Arthur-Farraj P, Velasco-Aviles S, Cabedo H, Benito C, Mirsky R, Jessen KR " Failures of nerve regeneration caused by aging or chronic denervation are rescued by restoring Schwann cell c-Jun. " Elife . 10 , e62232 - PMID: 33475496 ( 2021 ) doi: 10.7554/eLife.62232

Blanco-Cantó ME , Patel N, Velasco-Aviles S, Casillas-Bajo A, Salas-Felipe J, García-Escrivá A, Díaz-Marín C, Cabedo H. " Novel EGR2 variant that associates with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease when combined with lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-α factor T49M polymorphism. " Neurol Genet . 6(2) , e407 - ( 2020 ) doi: 10.1212/NXG.0000000000000407.PMID: 32337334

Velasco-Aviles S , Gomez-Sanchez JA, Cabedo H. " Class IIa HDACs in myelination. " Aging . doi:10.18632/aging.101443 , - ( 2018 )

Gomis-Coloma C. , Velasco-Aviles S, Gomez-Sanchez JA, Casillas-Bajo A, Backs J, Cabedo H. " Class IIa histone deacetylases link cAMP signaling to the myelin transcriptional program of Schwann cells. " J Cell Biol . 217(4) , 1249 - 1268 ( 2018 )

Gomez-Sanchez JA , Gomis-Coloma C, Morenilla-Palao C, Peiro G, Serra E, Serrano M, Cabedo H " Epigenetic induction of the Ink4a/Arf locus prevents Schwann cell overproliferation during nerve regeneration and after tumorigenic challenge " Brain . 136(7) , 2262 - 78 ( 2013 )
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Universidad Miguel Hernández

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