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Projects. Life and Matter Sciences

Analysis of the contribution of CRB2 protein to the establishment and permanence of adherent joins in the pigmentary epithelium, and its relationship with retinal dystrophies

Lead Researcher:
Mª Concepción Lillo Delgado

Research Centre:
Instituto de Neurociencias de Castilla y León. Universidad de Salamanca.


Mª Concepción Lillo DelgadoTo be able to analyse the contribution of CRB2 protein to the development of pigmentary epithelial bonds and its possible involvement in retinal dystrophies, one of the first objectives is to show that CRB2 protein is present and where it is located, and/or the other two members of the CRB family of proteins in this cell type. To this end, and to date, using molecular, biochemical and morphological techniques, CRB2 as well as CRB3 have been shown to be present in the pigmentary epithelium; while excluding the possibility that CRB1 is present too. Until now, these studies were the first to demonstrate these facts. Morphological analyses show that CRB2 is located very precisely in the apex and sides of the pigmentary epithelium, within the area of adherent bonds. On the other hand, to be able to analyse the modifications of the adherent bonds in the pigmentary epithelium under different conditions of in vitro CRB2 expression, a technique was perfected to obtain primary cultures of pigmentary epithelium obtained from the eyeballs of mice. Thus, after 5 days of culture, few cells were observed with fusiform morphology and the characteristics of proliferative cells. After several days of culture, many of these cells presented a morphology typical of pigmentary epithelial cells, because they had started to synthesise proteins that are characteristic of this cell type and presented pigment. Finally, among other experiments, the transepithelial resistance of the cultures is being measured, making it possible to determine the strength of the bonds formed between the cells. It was found that this transepithelial resistance does in fact increase during the time that the cells are kept in the culture. This technique will make it possible to achieve one of the aims of this project, which is to check whether changes occur in the strength of the adherent bonds of the pigmentary epithelium under different conditions of CRB2 expression, together with whether these changes affect the functions of this type of cell in the retina.

Scientific production
1 article published in Journals

Researcher's web address:


Mª Concepción Lillo Delgado

Graduate in Biology (University of Salamanca, 1996), Degree of Salamanca (dissertation, 1996), Doctorate in Biology, University of Salamanca (Extraordinary Prize, 2001), Post-doctoral Contract at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA (2002-2006), Ramón y Cajal Researcher in the Department of Cellular Biology and Pathology of the University of Salamanca (2006-2011), Tenured Professor of the University of Salamanca, 2011- to date).

Lecturing in Biology and Neurosciences in the Biology and Pharmacy degree courses and in the Masters Degrees of Neurosciences and Communications Disorders in the University of Salamanca. Pre-doctoral Grant from the University of Salamanca (1997-2001). Short pre-doctoral stays in the Ophthalmology Department of the University of Lund (Sweden), the Anatomy Department of the University of Tubingen (Germany) and in Kellogg's Eye Center, the University of Michigan (USA).

Scientific publications prior to her doctorate: 11 articles in national and international journals, and 8 chapters in books. Scientific publications after her doctorate: 18 articles in international journals of recognised prestige such as Nature, Science, Neurone, PNAS, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Nature Genetics, etc., and 2 chapters in books. Scientific publications as Ramón y Cajal researcher: 13 and 2 articles for scientific education.

Director of 2 Master's dissertations, one honours degree dissertation and 1 thesis (ongoing), as well as tutor for degree dissertations (Pharmacy Degree).

Projects financed previously as IP: 6 (one National Plan project, two projects from the Castilla y León Regional Government and three projects for private foundations).

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