Molecular Neuroscience - Carlos Ibáñez group

With a focus on growth factor receptor signaling, we investigate different aspects of nervous system development and metabolic regulation.

Pro-apoptotic and pro-survival pathways mapped onto non-overlapping epitopes, demonstrating that different signalling outputs can be genetically separated in the p75 receptor.

Research Focus

Growth Factor Receptor Signaling and Biology in Nervous System Development and Metabolic Regulation

With a focus on growth factor receptor signaling, we investigate different aspects of nervous system development and metabolic regulation. Currently, our studies center on three different ligand/receptor systems:

  • p75 neurotrophin receptor and neurotrophin family ligands
  • GFRα1, Ret and NCAM receptors and GDNF family ligands
  • TGF-β superfamily receptors ALK7 and ALK4 and their ligands Activins and GDFs.

Using these signaling systems as entry points, our goal is to discover novel, general biological principles of broad importance for nervous system development and metabolic functions. 

Current topics of investigation

  • Mechanism of p75NTR activation
  • Generation and functional characterization of p75NTR signaling mutants
  • Genetic approaches to elucidate p75NTR signaling functions in mutant mice
  • Role of GDNF family signaling in the development of the mammalian olfactory system
  • Role of GDNF family signaling in the development of the mammalian cerebellum
  • Development and differentiation of cortical GABAergic interneurons
  • Roles of activin signaling in brown and white adipocyte differentiation and fat homeostasis
  • A chemical-genetic approach to study ALK4 and ALK7 signaling in metabolic regulation

Group members


Activin receptor ALK4 promotes adipose tissue hyperplasia by suppressing differentiation of adipocyte precursors.
Lee ES, Guo T, Srivastava RK, Shabbir A, Ibáñez CF
J Biol Chem 2023 Jan;299(1):102716

Convergent dopamine and ALK4 signaling to PCBP1 controls FosB alternative splicing and cocaine behavioral sensitization.
Krapacher FA, Fernández-Suárez D, Andersson A, Carrier-Ruiz A, Ibáñez CF
EMBO J 2022 Aug;41(15):e110721

Adult medial habenula neurons require GDNF receptor GFRα1 for synaptic stability and function.
Fernández-Suárez D, Krapacher FA, Pietrajtis K, Andersson A, Kisiswa L, Carrier-Ruiz A, Diana MA, Ibáñez CF
PLoS Biol 2021 11;19(11):e3001350

Sustained anti-obesity effects of life-style change and anti-inflammatory interventions after conditional inactivation of the activin receptor ALK7.
Srivastava RK, Lee ES, Sim E, Sheng NC, Ibáñez CF
FASEB J 2021 08;35(8):e21759

Inactive variants of death receptor p75NTR reduce Alzheimer's neuropathology by interfering with APP internalization.
Yi C, Goh KY, Wong LW, Ramanujan A, Tanaka K, Sajikumar S, Ibáñez CF
EMBO J 2021 01;40(2):e104450

Control of brown adipose tissue adaptation to nutrient stress by the activin receptor ALK7.
Marmol P, Krapacher F, Ibáñez CF
Elife 2020 May;9():

CD137 negatively affects "browning" of white adipose tissue during cold exposure.
Srivastava RK, Moliner A, Lee ES, Nickles E, Sim E, Liu C, et al
J. Biol. Chem. 2020 Feb;295(7):2034-2042

ALK4 coordinates extracellular and intrinsic signals to regulate development of cortical somatostatin interneurons.
Göngrich C, Krapacher FA, Munguba H, Fernández-Suárez D, Andersson A, Hjerling-Leffler J, et al
J. Cell Biol. 2020 01;219(1):

Abnormal TDP-43 function impairs activity-dependent BDNF secretion, synaptic plasticity, and cognitive behavior through altered Sortilin splicing.
Tann JY, Wong LW, Sajikumar S, Ibáñez CF
EMBO J. 2019 03;38(5):

A Small Molecule Targeting the Transmembrane Domain of Death Receptor p75NTR Induces Melanoma Cell Death and Reduces Tumor Growth.
Goh ETH, Lin Z, Ahn BY, Lopes-Rodrigues V, Dang NH, Salim S, et al
Cell Chem Biol 2018 12;25(12):1485-1494.e5

Contact and visit us

Contact information for the Ibáñez Laboratory at the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet.

Postal address

Karolinska Institutet
Department of Neuroscience
171 77 Stockholm

Visiting address (visitors, couriers, etc.)

Karolinska Institutet
Biomedicum, D7/D8
Solnavägen 9
171 65 Solna

Delivery address (goods, parcels, etc.)

Tomtebodavägen 16
171 65 Solna

Where to find us

Karolinska Institutet, Biomedicum, Solnavägen 9

News from the Ibáñez Laboratory