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 a MSCA-ITN-EID - European Industrial Doctorates (4D analysis of heart development and regeneration using advanced light microscopy) (http://4dheart.eu/) and of a MEIC Excellence Network - Analysis of the cellular basis of morphogenesis in vertebrates (CELMOVES) (http://www.celmoves.es/).
In addition, his group participates in the RETICS TERCEL network (http://www.red-tercel.com/).