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Plant Biochemistry Laboratory

The Plant Biochemistry Laboratory studies abiotic stress responses of plants, with special emphasis on water deficit, temperature stress and mineral imbalances. We are interested in plants with different capacity to withstand stress and that are of high economic relevance, like cork oak, grain legumes, cereals, coffee and wild relatives of crop plants (e.g., beet-root and legumes). We envisage to unravel the specific mechanisms of the stress responses of these plants in order to understand their adaptation potentialities and to predict the behaviour under conditions of increasing desertification. Since model-plants are important tools to elucidate the molecular basis of the stress responses we also study Arabidopsis, Tellungiella, Medicago.
To investigate the plant metabolic alterations and the adaptations induced by stress we make use of general biochemical techniques and of NMR, which can produce a general picture of the major metabolic changes that are occurring. Proteins, as the main mediators of metabolism, are receiving a high attention in our studies using the methodologies of proteomics. For gene expression analyses we use the DNA array technology (DNA-microarrays available commercially) and real-time RT-PCR.

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