Genetic Control of Organ Development and Regeneration

We are interested in understanding the cellular basis of developmental processes and how this is controlled by transcription factor networks (TFN). We have developed genetic methods in the mouse that allow us to trace cell lineages using clonal analysis or functional mosaics. We have also established culture methods for the live analysis of developmental processes in embryonic stem cells and in the early mouse embryo. Using these new approaches, we have demonstrated the importance of cell competition in the early mouse embryo and in the cardiomyocyte lineage of the developing and adult heart. We are currently exploring the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying cell-cell comparison and loser-cell elimination.

In recent years we have identified the role of Meis transcription factors in organogenesis, including limb, eye,  cardiovascular, and hematopoietic system development. We have formulated new molecular models of Meis TFN activity underlying pattern formation and organ regeneration.

Furthermore, we have identified Myc-driven cell competition as a strategy for stimulating the proliferation and replacement of adult cardiomyocyte populations, without compromising cardiac function. A current focus of the lab is the transcriptional control of cardiomyocyte proliferation in the adult heart and its impact on cardiac function and repair. Based on evidence from animal models, we are exploring the cardiac regenerative potential of Myc and the role of Meis in maintaining heart function in the adult mouse.

Regarding scientific networks, Miguel Torres is the coordinator of the following projects: “Redox Regulation of Cardiomyocyte Renewal" ( financed by Leducq -Transatlantic Networks of Excellence Foundation,  "New-generation cardiac therapeutic strategies directed to the activation of endogenous regenerative mechanisms" ( a project developed by 12 international institutions and funded by the European Commission (H2020) and "Bioingeniería de células satélite de músculo esquelético como nueva estrategia de diferenciación a cardiomiocitos y regeneración cardiaca" (P2022/BMD-7245) which is a consortium financed by Comunidad de Madrid.

In addition, Miguel Torres is the PI of a new research group (January 2023) in the “Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red, Enfermedades Cardiovasculares” (CIBER-CV).