Light and temperature control of plant development

Group Leaders
Salomé Prat
CSIC Research Professor
Group Members

General research support

PhD Students

Visiting Researchers


The overarching theme of the research in our group is to understand how the environment shapes plant development. We pay special attention to the plant hormones gibberellins (GA) and brassinosteroids (BRs) that play a central role in transducing the light signal. We utilise two study organisms: the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana and the tuber crop, potato (Solanum tuberosum). The group’s work can be roughly divided into different but interconnected research areas.

Tuberisation: our group has been responsible for several breakthroughs in our basic understanding of how tubers are formed. Notable discoveries concern the conservation the CONSTANS-FT signalling module in potato and the role of SPA6A in the regulation of storage organ formation.

Light and temperature signalling: our work on arabidopsis aims to uncover the fundamental cellular processes underlying these signal pathways, particularly though phytochrome B and PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4). On potato, we work on the temperature-mediated control of tuberisation.

Circadian clock: work in our group largely focuses on a component of the circadian clock 'evening complex', ELF3, which acts as a strong repressor of PIF4 restricting elongation grown. We aim to understand the interplay between light, temperature and the clock.

Hormone integration and stress tolerance: we currently investigate the hormonal control of stress tolerance. We aim to engineer DELLA proteins to uncouple their growth-restriction and stress protection functions. We also investigate the gating of ABA-responses through the clock.

This group is currently relocating from the CNB to CRAG. 

Group Web Page

Selected Publications

Gutaker, R.M., Weiß, C.L., Ellis, D., Anglin, N.L., Knapp, S., Luis Fernández-Alonso, J., Prat, S., Burbano, H.A.
The origins and adaptation of European potatoes reconstructed from historical genomes
(2019)  Nature Ecology and Evolution, 3, pp. 1093-1101 

Martínez, C., Espinosa-Ruiz, A., de Lucas, M., Bernardo-García, S., Franco-Zorrilla, J.M., Prat, S.
PIF4‐induced BR synthesis is critical to diurnal and thermomorphogenic growth
(2018) The EMBO Journal, 37 (23). Art. number: e99552

Pucciariello, O., Legris, M., Rojas, C. C., Iglesias, M.J., Hernando, C.E., Dezar, C., Vazquez, M., Yanovsky, M.J., Finlayson, S.A., Prat, S., Casal, J.J.
Rewiring of auxin signaling under persistent shade
(2018) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 115 (21), pp. 5612-5617 

Espinosa-Ruiz, A., Martínez, C., de Lucas, M., Fabregas, N., Bosch, N., Caño-Delgado, A., Prat, S. 
TOPLESS mediates brassinosteroid control of shoot boundaries and root meristem development in Arabidopsis thaliana
(2017) Development, 144, pp. 1619-1628

Legris, M., Nieto, C., Sellaro, R., Prat, S., Casal, J.J.
Perception and signaling of light and temperature cues in plants 
(2017) The Plant Journal, 90 (4), pp. 683-697

Abelenda, J.A., Cruz-Oró, E., Franco-Zorrilla, J.M., Prat, S.
Potato StCONSTANS-like1 suppresses storage organ formation by directly activating the FT-like StSP5G repressor
(2016) Current Biology, 26, pp. 872-81

Navarro, C., Cruz-Oró, E., Prat, S.
Conserved function of FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) homologues as signals for storage organ differentiation
(2015) Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 23, pp. 45-53

Nieto, C., López-Salmerón, V., Davière, J.M., Prat, S.
ELF3-PIF4 interaction regulates plant growth independently of the Evening Complex
(2015) Current Biology, 25, pp. 187-93

Bernardo-García, S., de Lucas, M., Martínez, C., Espinosa-Ruiz, A., Davière, J., Prat, S.
BR-dependent phosphorylation modulates PIF4 transcriptional activity and shapes diurnal hypocotyl growth
(2014) Genes & Development, 28, pp. 1681-1694

Kloosterman, B., Abelenda, J.A., Gomez Mdel, M., Oortwijn, M., de Boer, J.M., Kowitwanich, K., Horvath, B.M., van Eck, H.J., Smaczniak, C., Prat, S., Visser, R.G., Bachem, C.W.
Naturally occurring allele diversity allows potato cultivation in northern latitudes
(2013) Nature, 495, pp. 246-250

Navarro, C., Abelenda, J., Cruz-Oró, E., Cuéllar, C., Tamaki, S., Silva, J., Shimamoto, K., Prat, S.
Control of flowering and storage organ formation in potato by FLOWERING LOCUS T
(2011) Nature, 478, pp. 119-122

de Lucas, M., Davière, J., Rodríguez-Falcón, M., Pontin, M., Iglesias-Pedraz, J., Lorrain, S., Fankhauser, C., Blázquez, M., Titarenko, E., Prat, S.
A molecular framework for light and gibberellin control of cell elongation
(2008) Nature, 451, pp, 480-484