CENTRO DE BIOLOGÍA MOLECULAR SEVERO OCHOACaptura de pantalla 2022 09 14 a las 10.27.10    

Cell communication in homeostasis and disease through new Gq-GPCR signaling nodes

Research summary:

Cell-cell communication and the interactions that occur between them are a key aspect in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, regulating individual cellular processes and intercellular relationships. When cells do not interact properly or incorrectly decode molecular messages, a pathological process is triggered.

The main objective of our group is to understand the functional impact, at the cellular and organismal level, of new interactions of important G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling nodes, relevant in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis (eg. Gαq and GRK2), and how changes in them can affect the progression of pathologies, using cell and animal models with altered expression/activity of these proteins, as well as patient samples or animal models of disease. We will focus particularly on the functional impact of these new interactions and their modulation by accessory proteins (such as GRKs, AGS, RGS, caveolin, Ric8), on cell death processes, integration of nutrient sensing/autophagy signals, and endothelial dysfunction in the development of inflammatory/metabolic pathologies and cancer.



Fig 1. The Gαq interactome and its functional repercussions

The Gαq interactome has expanded considerably with the description of new effectors and our group has contributed to this, through the identification of a new interaction region in Gαq, different from the classic effector binding region. This non-canonical Gαq signaling has turned out to be relevant in the development of cardiovascular pathologies and, furthermore, recent results have revealed the novel role of Gαq as a central modulator of mTORC1, contributing to the regulation of the autophagic process and thus to the maintenance of cell homeostasis, depending on nutrients fluctuations. These new Gαq interaction networks appear to be important in the regulation of endothelial function. Furthermore, Gαq is known to interact with various cytoskeletal components as well as important membrane microdomain organizers, suggesting the existence of signaling complexes that might be limited to specific subcellular environments.

In turn, we have also revealed a relevant role of one of the main regulators of these Gq-GPCR signaling pathways, GRK2, in the maintenance of the epithelial phenotype of stratified epithelia and demonstrated how its absence contributes to the development and malignancy of oral carcinomas (HNSCC), also revealing an important role of this kinase in epidermal homeostasis and in its inflammatory response.


                     Figure 2. The absence of GRK2 contributes to the activation of EMT programs and tumor malignancy in stratified epithelia.

To deepen a better understanding of the contribution of these signaling nodes to cellular communication between different cell types, both under physiological and pathological conditions, regulating exosome trafficking/autophagy, endothelial dysfunction/angiogenesis and extracellular matrix remodeling (including: normal or activated fibroblasts (CAF), endothelial cells, immune system cells and/or tumor cells), taking into account their respective secretomes, will contribute to the development of more effective therapies in inflammatory/metabolic and tumor contexts.

Some of these research objectives imply active collaborations with other members of our Unit at the CBMSO, as well as through CIBER Cardiovascular (CIBER-CV, ISCIII), Network of Biomedicine Integramune, (Comunidad de Madrid), as well as our affiliation to the Institute of Sanitary Research La Princesa.



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ApellidosNombreLaboratorioExt.*e-mailCategoría profesional
 Ribas Núñez  Catalina  304  4728 cribas(at)cbm.csic.es
 Profesora Titular Universidad
 Navarro Lérida  Inmaculada  304  4656  ilerida(at)cbm.csic.es  Profesora Ayudante Doctor
 García Mateos  Dafne  304/320  4656/4652  dafne.garcia(at)cbm.csic.es  Técnico superior UAM
 Asensio López  Alejandro  304  4656  alejandro.asensio(at)cbm.csic.es  Contrato Predoctoral FPI
 Jiménez López  Isabel  304  4656  mariaisabeljimenez1999(at)gmail.com  Contrato Investigo CAM
 Romo Gallo  Ana  304  4656  ana.romog(at)estudiante.uam.es  Estudiante de Grado
 Delgado Arévalo  Cristina  304/320  4656/4652  cdelgado(at)cbm.csic.es  Técnico Superior UAM
 Vázquez de Oro  Estefanía  304/320  4656/4652  evazquez(at)cbm.csic.es  Tco. de Investigación y Laboratorio

Relevant publications:


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