Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology
Although it is well-known as the "universal energy currency" of the cellular metabolism, ATP is now also recognized as an important extracellular signaling substance, acting on diverse families of P2X and P2Y receptors. The major research goal of the lab is to understand the role of ATP and other purines in the information processing of the normal and pathological nervous system in order to identify target sites for therapeutic use in neuro-psychiatric diseases. In the past decades the group has made substantial advances in the understanding of the release, extracellular metabolism and the presynaptic actions of purines and in the identification of receptors responsible for them. Their current research aims at the development of new purinergic drugs by identifying and validating new targets within this signalling system. The research group applies multidisciplinary approach to study purinergic mechanisms, which include a wide array of anatomical, molecular biological, neurochemical and pharmacological techniques and in vivo animal models of pain, neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.
In addition to the purinergic signalling, the lab has also substantially contributed to the research of the presynaptic modulatory actions of other non-classical signalling systems, such as the cannabinergic system. They have described actions of exo- and endocannabinoids on the release of different neurotransmitters in the brain and identified receptors and non-receptorial mechanisms responsible for them. Their ongoing research include the identification of presynaptic regulatory receptors influencing the neurotrnasmitter efflux from optogenetically identified neuronal pathways.
A third focus of the research is to study the neurochemical bases of neurodegenerative diseases: interactions between mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and dysregulated neurotransmitter release, which characterise many neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease and ischemia-related neurodegeneration. Their current activity with external partners aims the development of new antiparkinsonian drugs of multiple site of action.