Department of Neurobiology

Rubio, Maria E. (Lania)
Associate Professor, Neurobiology
M.D., University of Alicante Medical School (1990)
Ph.D., University of Alicante and Institute of Neuroscience (1994)
Address: 10015 BST3
   3501 Fifth Avenue, STE 10016
   Pittsburgh, PA, 15213-3301
Telephone: 412-624-6939
Fax: 412-383-5298

Research Interests:

To know how the brain works we have to consider a whole anatomical and molecular networks between and among its major constituents (neurons and glial cells). The nervous information can be transmitted thanks to the release of neurotransmitters that activate the corresponding receptors located at the appropriate synapse. Thus, to understand brain function and how it is regulated we need to elucidate if and how receptors are localized specifically in a cell. The mechanisms involved in the appropriate transport (targeting) of proteins in neurons are multiple, complex and are so far unclear. Less is known about receptor targeting in glial cells. Dr. Rubio’s laboratory is interested in analyzing these processes to understand the biology of neuron-glia interaction during normal and abnormal brain function.

The laboratory has the long-term-goal to investigate changes in receptor expression in response to experience. Because it is known that the composition of postsynaptic receptors affects the electrophysiological properties of neurons, it becomes important to analyze the changes in expression patterns when a particular source of activation is missing or somehow affected. In this context, we study the effects of an 8th nerve lesion and attenuation of sound on neurons and glial cells (astrocytes) of the cochlear nucleus complex. This is relevant for basic neuroscience, but this area of interest could have a strong clinical implication. Any information that might lead to new strategies of hearing loss treatment or the development of novel drugs would be valuable.

Sample Publications:

The number and distribution of AMPA receptor channels containing fast kinetic GluA3 and GluA4 subunits at auditory nerve synapses depend on the target cells.
Rubio ME, Matsui K, Fukazawa Y, Kamasawa N, Harada H, Itakura M, Molnár E, Abe M, Sakimura K, Shigemoto R.
Brain Struct Funct. 2017 Apr 10.

Impaired auditory processing and altered structure of the endbulb of Held synapse in mice lacking the GluA3 subunit of AMPA receptors.
García-Hernández S, Abe M, Sakimura K, Rubio ME.
Hear Res. 2017 Feb;344:284-294.

Conductive Hearing Loss Has Long-Lasting Structural and Molecular Effects on Presynaptic and Postsynaptic Structures of Auditory Nerve Synapses in the Cochlear Nucleus.
Clarkson C, Antunes FM, Rubio ME.
J Neurosci. 2016 Sep 28;36(39):10214-27.

ERK1/2 Activation in Preexisting Oligodendrocytes of Adult Mice Drives New Myelin Synthesis and Enhanced CNS Function.
Jeffries MA, Urbanek K, Torres L, Wendell SG, Rubio ME, Fyffe-Maricich SL.
J Neurosci. 2016 Aug 31;36(35):9186-200.

Excitation by Axon Terminal GABA Spillover in a Sound Localization Circuit.
Weisz CJ, Rubio ME, Givens RS, Kandler K.
J Neurosci. 2016 Jan 20;36(3):911-25.

Loss of VGLUT3 Produces Circadian-Dependent Hyperdopaminergia and Ameliorates Motor Dysfunction and l-Dopa-Mediated Dyskinesias in a Model of Parkinson's Disease.
Divito CB, Steece-Collier K, Case DT, Williams SP, Stancati JA, Zhi L, Rubio ME, Sortwell CE, Collier TJ, Sulzer D, Edwards RH, Zhang H, Seal RP.
J Neurosci. 2015 Nov 11;35(45):14983-99.

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