Brassinosteroid signaling in plant development and adaption to climate change

Group Leaders
Ana I. Caño-Delgado
CRAG Distinguished Researcher
Group Members
Brassinosteroid signaling in plant development group

Visiting Researchers

Postdoctoral Researchers

PhD Students

Undergrad or Master Students


Our lab investigates the processes by which plant steroid hormones (known as brassinosteroids) control growth and adaptation to the changing environment, in particular to drought, currently one of the most important problems of agriculture. 

In Arabidopsis, we have recently discovered that modifying brassinosteroid signaling in the vascular tissues confers resistance to drought without penalizing growth, opening novel possibilities for uncoupling drought resistance from plant growth arrest.  We are translating our original findings in Arabidopsis to a variety of agricultural species as they may have important applications in the fields of agriculture and food security. We are developing genetic edition tools in the cereal Sorghum and in other crops in order to increase their productivity during drought periods.

Technology wise, our collaboration with computational engineers is aimed at developing image analysis software to enable phenotype and genotype data analysis in agriculture. Our software tools are available here.

Overall, our long-time efforts to implement system biological approaches for the study of plants have started to flourish on a more realistic understanding on the signaling networks that control stem cell and meristem development in the root apex, which contribute to understand how plants grow and adapt to different environments. 

Selected Publications

Gupta, A., Rico-Medina A., Cano-Delgado, A.I.
The physiology of plant responses to drought
(2020) Science, Vol. 368, Issue 6488, pp. 266-269 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz7614

Planas-Riverola, A., Gupta, A., Betegoń-Putze, I., Bosch, N., Ibanḛs, M., Cano-Delgado, A.I.
Brassinosteroid signaling in plant development and adaptation to stress
(2019) Development (Cambridge), vol. 146 (5), Art. number dev151894 

Betegón-Putze, I., González, A., Sevillano, X., Blasco-Escámez, D., Caño-Delgado, A.I.
MyROOT: a method and software for the semiautomatic measurement of primary root length in Arabidopsis seedlings
(2019) Plant Journal (DOI:

Fàbregas, N.*, Lozano-Elena, F.*, Blasco-Escámez, D., Tohge, T., Martínez-Andújar, C., Albacete, A., Osorio, S., Bustamante, M., Riechmann, J.L., Nomura, T., Yokota, T., Conesa, A., Alfocea, F.P., Fernie, A.R., Caño-Delgado, A.I.
Overexpression of the vascular brassinosteroid receptor BRL3 confers drought resistance without penalizing plant growth
(2018) Nature Communications, vol. 9 (1), Art. number 4680

Pavelescu, I., Vilarrasa-Blasi, J., Planas-Riverola, A., González-García, M.-P., Caño-Delgado, A.I., Ibañes, M.
A Sizer model for cell differentiation in Arabidopsis thaliana root growth
(2018) Molecular Systems Biology, vol. 14 (1), Art. number e7687 

Lozano-Elena, F., Planas-Riverola, A., Vilarrasa-Blasi, J., Schwab, R., Caño-Delgado, A.I.
Paracrine brassinosteroid signaling at the stem cell niche controls cellular regeneration
(2018) Journal of Cell Science, vol. 131 (2), Art. number jcs.204065

González-García, M.-P., Pavelescu, I., Canela, A., Sevillano, X., Leehy, K.A., Nelson, A.D.L., Ibañes, M., Shippen, D.E., Blasco, M.A., Caño-Delgado, A.I.
Single-Cell Telomere-Length Quantification Couples Telomere Length to Meristem Activity and Stem Cell Development in Arabidopsis
(2015) Cell Reports, vol. 11 (6), pp. 977 -989 

Fàbregas, N., Formosa-Jordan, P., Confraria, A., Siligato, R., Alonso, J.M., Swarup, R., Bennett, M.J., Mähönen, A.P., Caño-Delgado, A.I., Ibañes, M.
Auxin Influx Carriers Control Vascular Patterning and Xylem Differentiation in Arabidopsis thaliana
(2015) PLoS Genetics, vol. 11 (4), Art. number e1005183

Vilarrasa-Blasi J., González-García M.P, Frigola D., Fàbregas N., Alexiou K., López-Bigas N., Rivas S., Jauneau A., Lohmann J U., Benfey P., Ibañes M. and Caño-Delgado A.I.
Regulation of plant stem cell quiescence by a Brassinosteroid signaling module
Developmental Cell (2014) 30(1):36-47

Fabregas, N, Li, N, Boeren, S., Nash, T.E., Goshe, M.B., Clouse S.D., de Vries S. and Caño-Delgado, A.I.
Specific roles for BRL3 signalosome complex in Arabidopsis root development
Plant Cell (2013) 25(9):3377-88

González-García, M. P., Vilarrasa-Blasi, J., Zhiponova, M., Divol, F., Mora-Garcia, S., Russinova, E. and Caño-Delgado, A. I.
Brassinosteroids control meristem size by promoting cell cycle progression in Arabidopsis Roots
Development (2011) 138(5): 849-59

Ibañes, M., Fabregas, N., Chory, J. and Caño-Delgado, A. I.
Brassinosteroid signaling and auxin transport are required to establish the periodic pattern of Arabidopsis shoot vascular bundles
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (2009) 106(32): 13630-5