Raquel Marco-Ferreres

Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras, Valenza, Valencia, Spain

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Publications (9)55.32 Total impact

  • Leonardo Beccari, Raquel Marco-Ferreres, Paola Bovolenta
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    ABSTRACT: The vertebrate forebrain or prosencephalon is patterned at the beginning of neurulation into four major domains: the telencephalic, hypothalamic, retinal and diencephalic anlagen. These domains will then give rise to the majority of the brain structures involved in sensory integration and the control of higher intellectual and homeostatic functions. Understanding how forebrain pattering arises has thus attracted the interest of developmental neurobiologists for decades. As a result, most of its regulators have been identified and their hierarchical relationship is now the object of active investigation. Here, we summarize the main morphogenetic pathways and transcription factors involved in forebrain specification and propose the backbone of a possible gene regulatory network (GRN) governing its specification, taking advantage of the GRN principles elaborated by pioneer studies in simpler organisms. We will also discuss this GRN and its operational logic in the context of the remarkable morphological and functional diversification that the forebrain has undergone during evolution.
    Mechanisms of development 10/2012; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we present the Transcription Factor Encyclopedia (TFe), a new web-based compendium of mini review articles on transcription factors (TFs) that is founded on the principles of open access and collaboration. Our consortium of over 100 researchers has collectively contributed over 130 mini review articles on pertinent human, mouse and rat TFs. Notable features of the TFe website include a high-quality PDF generator and web API for programmatic data retrieval. TFe aims to rapidly educate scientists about the TFs they encounter through the delivery of succinct summaries written and vetted by experts in the field. TFe is available at http://www.cisreg.ca/tfe.
    Genome biology 03/2012; 13(3):R24. · 10.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we present the Transcription Factor Encyclopedia (TFe), a new web-based compendium of mini review articles on transcription factors (TFs) that is founded on the principles of open access and collaboration. Our consortium of over 100 researchers has collectively contributed over 130 mini review articles on pertinent human, mouse and rat TFs. Notable features of the TFe website include a high-quality PDF generator and web API for programmatic data retrieval. TFe aims to rapidly educate scientists about the TFs they encounter through the delivery of succinct summaries written and vetted by experts in the field. TFe is available at http://www.cisreg.ca/tfe.
    Genome Biology 03/2012; 13(3-R24). · 10.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that have important roles in the regulation of gene expression. The roles of individual miRNAs in controlling vertebrate eye development remain, however, largely unexplored. Here, we show that a single miRNA, miR-204, regulates multiple aspects of eye development in the medaka fish (Oryzias latipes). Morpholino-mediated ablation of miR-204 expression resulted in an eye phenotype characterized by microphthalmia, abnormal lens formation, and altered dorsoventral (D-V) patterning of the retina, which is associated with optic fissure coloboma. Using a variety of in vivo and in vitro approaches, we identified the transcription factor Meis2 as one of the main targets of miR-204 function. We show that, together with altered regulation of the Pax6 pathway, the abnormally elevated levels of Meis2 resulting from miR-204 inactivation are largely responsible for the observed phenotype. These data provide an example of how a specific miRNA can regulate multiple events in eye formation; at the same time, they uncover an as yet unreported function of Meis2 in the specification of D-V patterning of the retina.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(35):15491-6. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Timely generation of distinct neural cell types in appropriate numbers is fundamental for the generation of a functional retina. In vertebrates, the transcription factor Six6 is initially expressed in multipotent retina progenitors and then becomes restricted to differentiated retinal ganglion and amacrine cells. How Six6 expression in the retina is controlled and what are its precise functions are still unclear. To address this issue, we used bioinformatic searches and transgenic approaches in medaka fish (Oryzias latipes) to characterise highly conserved regulatory enhancers responsible for Six6 expression. One of the enhancers drove gene expression in the differentiating and adult retina. A search for transcription factor binding sites, together with luciferase, ChIP assays and gain-of-function studies, indicated that NeuroD, a bHLH transcription factor, directly binds an 'E-box' sequence present in this enhancer and specifically regulates Six6 expression in the retina. NeuroD-induced Six6 overexpression in medaka embryos promoted unorganized retinal progenitor proliferation and, most notably, impaired photoreceptor differentiation, with no apparent changes in other retinal cell types. Conversely, Six6 gain- and loss-of-function changed NeuroD expression levels and altered the expression of the photoreceptor differentiation marker Rhodopsin. In addition, knockdown of Six6 interfered with amacrine cell generation. Together, these results indicate that Six6 and NeuroD control the expression of each other and their functions coordinate amacrine cell generation and photoreceptor terminal differentiation.
    Development 07/2010; 137(14):2307-17. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although tight quantitative control of gene expression is required to ensure that organs and tissues function correctly, the transcriptional mechanisms underlying this process still remain poorly understood. Here, we describe novel and evolutionary conserved secondary enhancers that are needed for the regulation of the expression of Troponin I genes. Secondary enhancers are silent when tested individually in electroporated muscles but interact with the primary enhancers and are required to precisely control the appropriate timing, the tissue and fibre specificity, and the quantitative expression of these genes during muscle differentiation. Synergism is completely dependent of the fully conserved MEF2 site present on the primary enhancers core of skeletal muscle Troponin I genes. Thus, while each of these paired enhancers has a different function, the concerted action of both is crucial to recapitulate endogenous gene expression. Through comparative genomics, we predict that this mechanism has also arisen in other mammalian muscle genes. Our results reveal the existence of a novel mechanism, conserved from flies to mammals, to fine-tune gene expression in each muscle and probably other tissues.
    Developmental Biology 10/2009; 337(1):16-28. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Characterization of the basal transcription machinery of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is critical to understand mitochondrial pathophysiology. In mammalian in vitro systems, mtDNA transcription requires mtRNA polymerase, transcription factor A (TFAM), and either transcription factor B1 (TFB1M) or B2 (TFB2M). We have silenced the expression of TFB2M by RNA interference in Drosophila melanogaster. RNA interference knockdown of TF2BM causes lethality by arrest of larval development. Molecular analysis demonstrates that TF2BM is essential for mtDNA transcription during Drosophila development and is not redundant with TFB1M. The impairment of mtDNA transcription causes a dramatic decrease in oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial ATP synthesis in the long-lived larvae, and a metabolic shift to glycolysis, which partially restores ATP levels and elicits a compensatory response at the nuclear level that increases mitochondrial mass. At the cellular level, the mitochondrial dysfunction induced by TFB2M knockdown causes a severe reduction in cell proliferation without affecting cell growth, and increases the level of apoptosis. In contrast, cell differentiation and morphogenesis are largely unaffected. Our data demonstrate the essential role of TFB2M in mtDNA transcription in a multicellular organism, and reveal the complex cellular, biochemical, and molecular responses induced by impairment of oxidative phosphorylation during Drosophila development.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2008; 283(18):12333-42. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The distinct muscles of an organism accumulate different quantities of structural proteins, but always maintaining their stoichiometry. However, the mechanisms that control the levels of these proteins and that co-ordinate muscle gene expression remain to be defined. The paramyosin/miniparamyosin gene encodes two thick filament proteins transcribed from two different promoters. We have analysed the regulatory regions that control expression of this gene and that are situated in the two promoters, the 5' and the internal promoters, both in vivo and in silico. A distal muscle enhancer containing three conserved MEF2 motifs is essential to drive high levels of paramyosin expression in all the major embryonic, larval and adult muscles. This enhancer shares sequence motifs, as well as its structure and organisation, with at least four co-regulated muscle enhancers that direct similar patterns of expression. However, other elements located downstream of the enhancer are also required for correct gene expression. Other muscle genes with different patterns of expression, such as miniparamyosin, are regulated by other basic mechanisms. The expression of miniparamyosin is controlled by two enhancers, AB and TX, but a BF modulator is required to ensure the correct levels of expression in each particular muscle. We propose a mechanism of transcriptional regulation in which similar enhancers are responsible for the spatio-temporal expression of co-regulated genes. However, it is the interaction between enhancers which ensures that the correct amounts of protein are expressed at any particular time in a cell, adapting these levels to their specific needs. These mechanisms may not be exclusive to neural or muscle tissue and might represent a general mechanism for genes that are spatially and temporally co-regulated.
    Mechanisms of Development 06/2005; 122(5):681-94. · 2.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Formation of the contractile apparatus in muscle cells requires co-ordinated activation of several genes and the proper assembly of their products. To investigate the role of TnT (troponin T) in the mechanisms that control and co-ordinate thin-filament formation, we generated transgenic Drosophila lines that overexpress TnT in their indirect flight muscles. All flies that overexpress TnT were unable to fly, and the loss of thin filaments themselves was coupled with ultrastructural perturbations of the sarcomere. In contrast, thick filaments remained largely unaffected. Biochemical analysis of these lines revealed that the increase in TnT levels could be detected only during the early stages of adult muscle formation and was followed by a profound decrease in the amount of this protein as well as that of other thin-filament proteins such as tropomyosin, troponin I and actin. The decrease in thin-filament proteins is not only due to degradation but also due to a decrease in their synthesis, since accumulation of their mRNA transcripts was also severely diminished. This decrease in expression levels of the distinct thin-filament components led us to postulate that any change in the amount of TnT transcripts might trigger the down-regulation of other co-regulated thin-filament components. Taken together, these results suggest the existence of a mechanism that tightly co-ordinates the expression of thin-filament genes and controls the correct stoichiometry of these proteins. We propose that the high levels of unassembled protein might act as a sensor in this process.
    Biochemical Journal 03/2005; 386(Pt 1):145-52. · 4.65 Impact Factor