Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology

Martin M. Riccomagno

Martin Riccomagno
Office: (951) 827-4682
Fax: (951) 827-3087
1111 Biological Sciences Building
Office Hours: , 2pm - 2pm
Email: martin.riccomagno@ucr.edu

Martin M. Riccomagno

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Buenos Aires
Postdoctoral Fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


Establishment of proper connections in the developing brain is essential for perception, language, thought, consciousness, learning and memory. Accurate cell migration, axon guidance, synapse formation and subsequent pruning of exuberant neuronal projections are indispensable for the development of a functional nervous system. Disruption of any of these processes can result in a range of neurodevelopmental disorders including schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and neuronal degeneration. My interests are focused on understanding the molecular events that drive the assembly and refinement of neuronal circuits. Our laboratory takes both directed and unbiased approaches to identify the molecular players critical for axonal pruning, synapse maintenance and synapse elimination; these in turn will inform us about the basis of neural pathologies.

Lab Website

My laboratory focuses on understanding:

  • What are the molecular mechanisms that regulate axon pruning in distinct brain regions? To answer this broad question we are:

a)    Developing novel unbiased approaches to explore axon pruning and circuit refinement

b)    Assessing the role of RhoGAPs and GEFs during circuit refinement

c)    Determining the influence of neuronal activity on axon pruning and circuit refinement

  • How are local signaling cues integrated inside the cell during neural circuit establishment and refinement?

We are particularly interested in the roles played by Cas adaptor proteins in transducing adhesion signaling during neural development.

  • What are the similarities and differences between the signaling events underlying axon degeneration and pruning?

We are starting to address these and other questions related to axon pruning and synapse maintenance. To do so our lab takes advantage of a variety of experimental approaches including molecular genetics, in utero electroporation, histology, viral vectors and imaging. Given emerging connections between aberrant axon and synapse pruning, and the etiology of neural disease, the results of these studies will have broad implications for both neural development and pathology. 

AAV injection CAS mutant


  • Riccomagno, M.M.*, Sun, L. O.*, Brady, C.M., Alexandropoulos, K., Seo, S., Kurokawa, M., and Kolodkin, A.L. (2014) Cas adaptor proteins organize the Retinal Ganglion Cell Layer downstream of Integrin signaling. Neuron 81:779-786 * Equal contribution.

  • Wang, S-H.J., Celic, I., Choi, S-Y., Riccomagno, M., Wang, Q., Sun, L.O., Mitchell, S., Vasioukhin, V., Huganir, R.L., and Kolodkin, A.L. (2014) Dlg5 Regulates Dendritic Spine Formation and Synaptogenesis by Controlling Subcellular N-cadherin Localization Journal of Neuroscience  In press.

  • Riccomagno, M.M., Hurtado, A., Wang H., Macopson, J.J, Griner, E.M., Betz, A., Brose, N., Kazanietz, M.G., and Kolodkin, A.L. (2012) TheRacGAP β2-Chimaerin Selectively Mediates Axonal Pruning in the Hippocampus. Cell 149: 594–1606.

  • Pachikara, A., Dolson, D.K., Martinu, L., Riccomagno, M.M., Jeong, Y., and Epstein, D.J.  (2007) Activation of Class I transcription factors by low level Sonic hedgehog signaling is mediated by Gli2-dependent and independent mechanisms.  Developmental Biology 305: 52-62.

  • Torban, E., Wang, H-J., Patenaude, A-M., Riccomagno, M., Daniels, E., Epstein, D., and Gros, P. (2006) Tissue, cellular and sub-cellular localization of the Vangl2 protein during embryonic development: effect of the Lp Mutation. Gene Exp. Patterns 7: 346-354.

  • Riccomagno, M.M., Takada, S., and Epstein, D.J (2005) Wnt dependent regulation of inner ear morphogenesis is balanced by the opposing and supporting roles of Shh. Genes & Dev. 19: 1612-1623.

  • Kleber, M., Lee, H-Y., Wurdak, H., Buchstaller, J., Riccomagno, M.M., Ittner, L.M.,Suter, U., Epstein, D.J. and Sommer, L. (2005). Neural Crest Stem Cell Maintenance by Combinatorial Wnt and BMP Signaling. J. Cell. Bio. 169: 309-320.

  • Riccomagno, M.M., Martinu, L., Mulheisen, M., Wu, D.K and Epstein, D.J. (2002) Specification of the mammalian cochlea is dependent on Sonic hedgehog. Genes & Dev. 16: 2365–2378.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Department Information

Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology
2111 Biological Sciences Bldg.

Manuela Martins-Green: Chair of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology
Tel: (951) 827-2831
Fax: (951) 827-3087
E-mail: manuela.martins@ucr.edu