The goal of our research programme is to understand how plants respond to stresses caused by biotic and abiotic factors. We study how plants recognize pathogens and sense adverse environmental conditions, how these signals are transduced and which physiological and biochemical responses to stress are triggered. We also investigate the biological cycle of relevant pathogens and the genes that control their virulence. 

The teams in our programme work on different crops (rice, melon, solanaceous plants, etc.), as well as on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana studying their interaction with important plant pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, fungi and oomycetes. We study antimicrobial peptide production, transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of plant defence responses, and cell death in disease resistance. Our research also aims at understanding the interactions between defence and development and plant responses to combined stresses. 

In collaboration with agro-biotech companies, we also devote our efforts to apply the acquired knowledge to obtain crops with enhanced resistance to pathogens and better adapted to changing environmental conditions.


Domingo-Calap M.L., Moreno A.B., Pendón J.A.D., Moreno A., Fereres A., López-Moya J.J.

Assessing the impact on virus transmission and insect vector behavior of a viral mixed infection in melon (2020) Phytopathology, vol. 110 (1), pp. 174 -186 (DOI:10.1094/PHYTO-04-19-0126-FI)

Minina E.A., Staal J., Alvarez V.E., Berges J.A., Berman-Frank I., Beyaert R., Bidle K.D., Bornancin F., Casanova M., Cazzulo J.J., Choi C.J., Coll N.S., Dixit V.M., Dolinar M., Fasel N., Funk C., Gallois P., Gevaert K., Gutierrez-Beltran E., Hailfinger S., Klemenčič M., Koonin E.V., Krappmann D., Linusson A., Machado M.F.M., Madeo F., Megeney L.A., Moschou P.N., Mottram J.C., Nyström T., Osiewacz H.D., Overall C.M., Pandey K.C., Ruland J., Salvesen G.S., Shi Y., Smertenko A., Stael S., Ståhlberg J., Suárez M.F., Thome M., Tuominen H., Van Breusegem F., van der Hoorn R.A.L., Vardi A., Zhivotovsky B., Lam E., Bozhkov P.V.

Classification and Nomenclature of Metacaspases and Paracaspases: No More Confusion with Caspases (2020) Molecular Cell, vol. 77 (5), pp. 927 -929 (DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2019.12.020)

Planas-Marquès M., Kressin J.P., Kashyap A., Panthee D.R., Louws F.J., Coll N.S., Valls M.

Four bottlenecks restrict colonization and invasion by the pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in resistant tomato (2020) Journal of Experimental Botany, vol. 71 (6), pp. 2157 -2171 (DOI:10.1093/jxb/erz562)

Campos-Soriano L., Bundó M., Bach-Pages M., Chiang S.-F., Chiou T.-J., San Segundo B.

Phosphate excess increases susceptibility to pathogen infection in rice (2020) Molecular Plant Pathology, vol. 21 (4), pp. 555 -570 (DOI:10.1111/mpp.12916)

Soler M., Verdaguer R., Fernández-Piñán S., Company-Arumí D., Boher P., Góngora-Castillo E., Valls M., Anticó E., Molinas M., Serra O., Figueras M.

Silencing against the conserved NAC domain of the potato StNAC103 reveals new NAC candidates to repress the suberin associated waxes in phellem (2020) Plant Science, vol. 291 Art. number 110360 (DOI:10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.110360)