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Plant Cell Biology


Plant Cell Biology Laboratory

Group leader:   Rita Abranches

The main objective of our current research is to integrate the fundamental and applied aspects of Molecular Farming - the production of recombinant proteins in plant based systems - by determining which processes influence recombinant protein expression, accumulation and stability.

We are particularly interested in understanding how transgene expression is influenced by higher-order chromatin structure, and how we can use Epigenetic Modulation to increase recombinant protein production. We are mainly using the model plants Medicago truncatula and Arabidopsis thaliana (both whole plants and suspension cell cultures), and BY-2 tobacco cells. For our studies we use transgenes encoding pharmaceutical and feed additive proteins, which adds an applied dimension to this research and enhances the importance of the fundamental cell biology questions we are addressing.

We are also studying the role of Plant Proteases in different cellular processes, using both model and non-model plant systems.

Another line of research in the laboratory focuses on the organization and function of the cell nucleus, namely the role of Chromatin Dynamics in the organization of genomes from different plant species. 






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