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Prof. Sergio P. AcebrónCell signalling

Our research focuses on how somatic and stem cells integrate extracellular signals to modulate their fate. The architecture, homeostasis and function of the organs is defined at the cellular level by the integration of a myriad of molecular signals. In our lab, we study how stem cells, progenitor cells, and somatic cells integrate extracellular signals and how these cascades define cell fate. We focus on unravelling the molecular mechanisms underlying signal transduction, specially in ther context of the Wnt signalling pathway and mitosis.

 To address these questions we integrate cutting edge imaging and genome editing with detailed molecular analyses in mouse models, ex vivo cultured neural progenitor cells, organoids, as well as cell lines.


We analyse cell signalling in vivo by studying mouse models (upper left); and in vitro by using cultured somatic cells (upper middle) and cell extracts (upper right). We complement our studies with ex vivo models such as intestinal organoids (lower left); embryonic stem cells (colony; lower middle), and neural progenitor cells (neurosphere; lower right).


Lab topics

Cell signalling & mitosis

A fundamental open question in cell biology, development, and physiology is how cells are guided through mitosis to place specific daughter cells at defined positions. During the complex voyage of building tissues, cells integrate intrinsic factors, as well as extrinsic cues from their niches to modulate the progression, symmetry, orientation, and fate of their divisions. Misregulation of these processes is associated with loss of the cellular hierarchies and can ultimately lead to disease, notably cancer. We aim to unravel how different signalling pathways shape the cell fate during development and tissue renewal by modulating cell division.

Stem cell & cancer biology

The fate of adult stem cells is determined by the integration of extracellular signals released from their niches. For example, Wnt ligands are essential for stem cell maintenance and tissue homeostasis across many organs. We study the transduction of Wnt signals, notably in mammalian adult stem cells of the adrenal gland and the gut. We aim to identify and characterise signalling components, interactions and modifications that play key roles in stem cell renewal, and whose misregulation can lead to cancer.

Signal transduction & crosstalk

The extracellular signalling pathways are notorious for their cross talk, but it is still not well understood how stem and progenitor cells integrate different extracellular signals from a multi-signalling niche to modulate their fate and behaviour. We aim to characterise the fundamental molecular hubs where these signals converge.