Plants are a primary source of nutrients, materials and chemicals for humans. The Plant Metabolism and Metabolic Engineering Programme aims to generate fundamental knowledge of how plants control their primary and secondary metabolism to respond to environmental cues, and to improve the quality of plant products.

In particular, our Programme addresses the study of the organization and regulation of metabolic pathways for the production of isoprenoids (mainly sterols and carotenoids) and lignocellulosic material. These pathways impact fruit and seed quality, nutritional content, digestibility, bioenergetic value, and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress.

The experimental approaches include biochemistry, genetics, molecular and cell biology, and advanced plant systems methodologies like transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic analyses. A substantial part of the research activities are performed in well-established models and crop plants (for example, Arabidopsis, tomato and maize).


Andersen T.B., Llorente B., Morelli L., Torres-Montilla S., Bordanaba-Florit G., Espinosa F.A., Rodriguez-Goberna M.R., Campos N., Olmedilla-Alonso B., Llansola-Portoles M.J., Pascal A.A., Rodriguez-Concepcion M.

An engineered extraplastidial pathway for carotenoid biofortification of leaves (2021) Plant Biotechnology Journal, vol. 19 (5), pp. 1008 -1021 (DOI:10.1111/pbi.13526)

Manga-Robles A., Santiago R., Malvar R.A., Moreno-González V., Fornalé S., López I., Centeno M.L., Acebes J.L., Álvarez J.M., Caparros-Ruiz D., Encina A., García-Angulo P.

Elucidating compositional factors of maize cell walls contributing to stalk strength and lodging resistance (2021) Plant Science, vol. 307 Art. number 110882 (DOI:10.1016/j.plantsci.2021.110882)

Kwon H.-Y., Kumar Das R., Jung G.T., Lee H.-G., Lee S.H., Berry S.N., Tan J.K.S., Park S., Yang J.-S., Park S., Baek K., Park K.M., Lee J.W., Choi Y.-K., Kim K.H., Kim S., Kim K.P., Kang N.-Y., Kim K., Chang Y.-T.

Lipid-Oriented Live-Cell Distinction of B and T Lymphocytes (2021) Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 143 (15), pp. 5836 -5844 (DOI:10.1021/jacs.1c00944)

Head S.A., Hernandez-Alias X., Yang J.-S., Ciampi L., Beltran-Sastre V., Torres-Méndez A., Irimia M., Schaefer M.H., Serrano L.

Silencing of SRRM4 suppresses microexon inclusion and promotes tumor growth across cancers (2021) PLoS Biology, vol. 19 (2), Art. number e3001138 (DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001138)

Gutiérrez-García L., Arró M., Altabella T., Ferrer A., Boronat A.

Structural and functional analysis of tomato sterol C22 desaturase (2021) BMC Plant Biology, vol. 21 (1), Art. number 141 (DOI:10.1186/s12870-021-02898-7)