All Group Leaders 

Neural circuit assembly and brain disorders

Beatriz Rico

Beatriz Rico

Professor of Developmental Neurobiology

  |  Website

Overview

The function of neural networks in the cerebral cortex relies on the interaction between excitatory and inhibitory neurons, but the mechanisms controlling their wiring into specific circuits remain largely unknown. Unravelling the mechanisms underlying the formation of neuronal networks in the cortex is not only a major scientific challenge, but also has important implications in mental health. Increasing evidences suggest that there is a malfunction of inhibitory neurons in many neurodevelopmental disorders, and therefore understanding how cortical networks assemble during development will help to produce new treatments for these devastating disorders.

Our goal in the lab is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling the development and maturation of neural networks in health and disease. In the context of the new MRC Centre we have established collaborations with our clinician colleagues to engineer animal models for relevant genes linked to autism, epilepsy and schizophrenia to investigate the excitatory/inhibitory in specific cortical circuits. This will allow us to identify new possible targets for the development of alternative pharmacological therapies.

Selected publications

Favuzzi E, Deogracias R, Marques-Smith A, Maeso P, Jezequel J, Exposito-Alonso D, Balia M, Kroon T, Hinojosa AJ, F Maraver E, Rico B (2019) Distinct molecular programs regulate synapse specificity in cortical inhibitory circuits. Science 363: 413-417

Hinojosa AJ, Deogracias R, Rico B (2018) The Microtubule Regulator NEK7 Coordinates the Wiring of Cortical Parvalbumin Interneurons. Cell Rep 24: 1231-1242
Favuzzi E, Rico B (2018) Molecular diversity underlying cortical excitatory and inhibitory synapse development. Curr Opin Neurobiol 53: 8-15
Del Pino I, Rico B, Marín O (2018) Neural circuit dysfunction in mouse models of neurodevelopmental disorders. Curr Opin Neurobiol 48: 174-182
Favuzzi E, Marques-Smith A, Deogracias R, Winterflood CM, Sánchez-Aguilera A, Mantoan L, Maeso P, Fernandes C, Ewers H, Rico B (2017) Activity-Dependent Gating of Parvalbumin Interneuron Function by the Perineuronal Net Protein Brevican. Neuron 95: 639-655.e10
Del Pino I, Brotons-Mas JR, Marques-Smith A, Marighetto A, Frick A, Marín O, Rico B (2017) Abnormal wiring of CCK Nat Neurosci 20: 784-792

Marques-Smith A, Favuzzi E, Rico B (2016) Shaping Early Networks to Rule Mature Circuits: Little MiRs Go a Long Way. Neuron 92: 1154-1157
Navarro AI, Rico B (2014) Focal adhesion kinase function in neuronal development. Curr Opin Neurobiol 27: 89-95

Marín O, Rico B (2013) A new beginning for a broken mind: balancing neuregulin 1 reverses synaptic dysfunction. Neuron 78: 577-9

Chacón MR, Navarro AI, Cuesto G, del Pino I, Scott R, Morales M, Rico B (2012) Focal adhesion kinase regulates actin nucleation and neuronal filopodia formation during axonal growth. Development 139: 3200-10
Rico B, Marín O (2011) Neuregulin signaling, cortical circuitry development and schizophrenia. Curr Opin Genet Dev 21: 262-70

Valiente M, Ciceri G, Rico B, Marín O (2011) Focal adhesion kinase modulates radial glia-dependent neuronal migration through connexin-26. J Neurosci 31: 11678-91

Chacón MR, Fernández G, Rico B (2010) Focal adhesion kinase functions downstream of Sema3A signaling during axonal remodeling. Mol Cell Neurosci 44: 30-42