Coñece ao #teamCINBIO: María D. Mayán Santos 22 febreiro 2024 Sala de seminarios da Torre CACTI

Programa Coñece ao #teamCINBIO

O xoves 22 de febreiro ás 11:30 horas teremos a oportunidade de coñecer o traballo de María D. Mayán Santos, do grupo de Comunicación celular en cancro e en enfermidades asociadas á idade (CELLCOM) do CINBIO, que impartirá a charla "Cellular communication via connexin channels and extracellular vesicles in health and disease" dentro do ciclo "Coñece ao #teamCINBIO"

Será de xeito presencial na Sala de seminarios da Torre CACTI.


Our group has extensive expertise in the field of connexin-linked diseases. We have identified a novel regulator of cellular senescence, connexin43 (Cx43), which is also involved in inflammation, tissue remodeling and progression of age-related diseases, as well as a modulator of dedifferentiation processes and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. We have discovered that chondrocytes in articular cartilage are connected by long cytoplasmic projections and cell-to-cell communication occurs via gap junctions formed by Cx43. We have also demonstrated that the overactivity of Cx43 since early stages of the disease is involved in osteoarthritis (OA) progression, finding a new therapeutic target for the treatment of OA. These results have been recognized by the Spanish Society of Rheumatology (SER) with two awards in two different panels; Basic Science and Osteoarthritis and with one award in the congress of the international gap junction community (IGJC Canada 2019). In line with these results, our group has registered two international patents with innovative therapeutic strategies based on the use of lectins and peptidomimetics to target Cx43 for the treatment of OA (PCT/US2014/045229; PCT/EP2020/071242).

We are now exploring the role of connexins and pannexins in metastasis and drug resistance. To do so, we are studying connexin signalling pathways and cell-to-cell communication (hemichannels and gap junctions) within the tumour microenvironment to increase the efficacy of immunotherapy and targeted therapies currently in use in the clinic, such as BRAF/MEK inhibitors, CDK4/6 or PARP inhibitors. We have recently found that modulation of a new target (mRNA and protein) through an innovative method involving exosome-based delivery systems, increases the efficacy and overcomes drug resistance in BRAF-mutated tumours (EU Patent: PCT/EP2021/077487; 1 manuscript under preparation), in line with ongoing promising research about the key role of connexins in resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors in breast cancer and PARP inhibitors in advanced breast and ovarian cancer models (EP21382657 and EP22382009, respectively). Our group is also exploring the immunomodulatory activity of connexins which participates in the immunological synapses. We have started to explore the interaction between natural killer cells, (NKs) dendritic cells (DCs) and tumour cells to enhance the immune response to cancer and to improve tumour response to immunotherapies. These research lines aim to explore innovative therapeutic strategies to improve the efficacy of cancer immune checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies where connexins play a dual role.


María D. Mayán obtained her Ph.D. in Biology from the Complutense University of Madrid in 2006 at CIB-Margarita Salas (CSIC). Following this period, she carried out postdoctoral stays in London, at Imperial College London and the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences. In 2010, she joined as Principal Investigator and later in 2014 as Group Leader (R4) at INIBIC in A Coruña. Currently, she leads her research group at CINBIO, dedicated to studying mechanisms involved in cancer progression and other age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis. Mayán has published more than 30 articles in high-impact journals and holds seven patents. Additionally, she has been the Principal Investigator (PI) for various national and international research projects related with the role of connexins in inflammation and aging.