Group Leader/s



Aspergillus nidulans is a genetic model for studying polarised cell growth and long-distance transport. Hyphal tip cells grow exclusively by apical extension, leading to tubular multinucleated cells where intracellular traffic is tailored to the large distances that exist between apical and distal regions of the cytosol, or between the different nuclei of the cell. We use a combination of formal Genetics with Molecular and Cellular Biology to understand intracellular traffic, including the mechanisms by which environmental signals are transduced to the different nuclei of the cell to ensure coordinated transcriptional responses. The research unit includes two groups, led by Dr. Eduardo A. Espeso and Dr. Miguel A. Peñalva (acting as coordinator), respectively. 


Time-lapse movie showing a mitosis, with chromatin stained in red and the ER in green


 [2020]. Penalva M.A., Moscoso-Romero E. and Hernández-González M. Tracking exocytosis of a GPI-anchored protein in Aspergillus nidulans. Traffic, Sep 9. doi: 10.1111/tra.12761

Hernández-Gonzalez, M., Bravo-Plaza, I., Pinar, M., de los Ríos, V., Arst, H. N., Jr., and Peñalva,  [2018].  Endocytic recycling via the TGN underlies the polarized hyphal mode of life. M. A. PLoS Genetics 14: e1007291.



Intracellular Membrane Trafficking Group, PI: Miguel A. Peñalva

Funding body: Agencia Española de Investigación, FEDER Funds

DGCYT RTI-2018-093344-B-100

Investigating the integration between exocytosis and endocytosis using a model fungal cell factory (2019-2022).

Filamentous fungi display a remarkable capacity to secrete proteins, a capacity exploited for the production of industrial enzymes, which represents a major activity of the biotechnology sector in Europe. Yet detailed understanding of the organization and regulation of exocitosis in these organisms is wanting, including, for example, how does continuous growth by apical extension, highly demanding for exocitosis, compete with high-level secretion of enzymes. Our work on Aspergillus intracellular traffic has placed us in a privileged situation to address fundamental issues that may guide tailored improvements of productivity. 


PI @ CIB Miguel Ángel Peñalva, Coordinator Dr. María Molina, UCM

Grant number S2017/BMD-3691, "InGEMICS-CM". Ingeniería Microbiana, Salud y Calidad de Vida. ( (Microbial Engineering, Health and Life Quality)

Funding by Comunidad de Madrid, 'Ciencias de la Salud y Biotecnología' Program

Nucleo-cytoplasmic traffic and abiotic stress response in multinucleated cells Group, PI: Dr Eduardo A. Espeso

Funding body: DGICYT (Dirección General de Investigación Científica y Técnica), Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades, Agencia Estatal de Investigación. FEDER.

RTI2018-094263-B-I00 (MCIU/AEI/FEDER). Title: 'Interconnections between cation homeostasis and intracellular traffic in Aspergillus nidulans'

Most biosynthetic and catalytic pathways are transcriptionally regulated. We study signals, receptors, signaling transduction and the mechanisms mediating the activation and cellular localisation of transcription factors. In eukaryotes, nuclear transport is a key regulatory step in the regulation of a transcription factor activity. Using as models diverse nuclear factors we try to understand the mechanisms involved in signaling and trafficking between cytoplasm and nucleus in a coenocytic (multi nuclear) organism. Specifically we focus on the zinc-finger transcription factors SltA and CrzA that mediate in the responses to cation and alkaline pH stresses. This research has relevance to understand the mechanisms of tolerance to cations and the fungal ability to produce the molecular machinery that interacts and modifies the extracellular medium. These regulatory mechanisms of intracellular traffic and the resulting products have commercial and social interest. Notably, these mechanisms are common to those used by pathogens to infect their hosts. The possible effect of global warming on microorganisms most tolerant of high temperatures and the effects of desiccation, such as the elevation of solutes concentrations in continental waters and seas, is particularly alarming. The emergence of new pathogens capable of tolerating abiotic stress is a reality and knowing the genetic and molecular mechanisms of these organisms can be an effective means for their control and treatment of fungal diseases.


Lab members 2017

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