Isoprenoid metabolism in tomato: Involvement in development and stress response
Plant sterols are found free (FE) and conjugated as steryl esters (SE), steryl glucosides (SG) and acylated steryl glucosides (ASG). In most plants, SG and ASG are minor components of cell membranes compared to FE. However, some Solanaceae like tomato accumulate large amounts of SG and ASG. Although it is accepted that sterols regulate different plant biological processes, the role of conjugated sterol metabolism in plant growth and development, cell signaling and transport, fruit growth and ripening or the adaptive response of plants to biotic and abiotic stress is far from being understood. The main research line of our group is focused on understanding the role and action mechanisms of conjugated sterols in these processes using biochemical, molecular, cellular and physiological approaches, and Arabidopsis and tomato as model organisms.
Currently, our group is also involved in a collaborative project aimed at exploiting the reservoir of bioactive natural compounds produced by endophytes. We are interested in the isolation and characterization of microorganisms living in aromatic plants of the Mediterranean area to produce new metabolites with antimicrobial activity and aroma compounds of commercial interest. Our research activities are mainly focused on the elucidation of the biosynthetic pathways leading to the production of the targeted compounds, with the goal to reconstruct these pathways in microorganism-based production systems that will untimely be tested for the pilot scale production.
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