Redox Biology, Metabolism and Signaling

The research area of Redox Biology, Metabolism and Signalling is formed by groups addressing structural-functional relationships in redox proteins, such as metallo-proteins and flavoproteins. Thus, studies are currently in progress on the role of respiratory cytochrome c in programmed cell death in different types of organisms and the function of other proteins involved in electron transport, such as plastocyanin and cytochrome c6, electron donors forphotosystem I, or cytochromes b559 and c550, which are associated with photosystem II and are possibly involved in protection mechanisms in this photosystem during photosynthesis (in this case, using cyanobacteria as a model system).

Within the context of photosynthesis, several groups are using plants to study the role of thiol-based redox enzymes in the mechanism of plant adaptation to environmental stimuli causing oxidative stress. In addition, the metabolic networks that interact with each compartmentalised cysteine pool and their effect in plant responses are also being explored using a systems biology approach. One group is characterising the role of a plant-specific Ca2+-regulated decoding systemthat is involved in disease and susceptibility signalling in response to biotic stress.

Other groups focus on starch metabolism in plants through the study of the different elements involved in starch synthesis or byanalysing of the role of starch and sucrose in developmental processes, such as gravitropism and plagiotropism. These groups also seek to understand the complex regulatory signals that promote the floral transition at the molecular level. Additionally, Arabidopsis thaliana is used as a model system to study the involvement of telomeric and subtelomeric chromatin in the biology of telomeres. A more specific TOR kinase-dependent signalling pathway is being investigated to understand the control of cell growth in photosynthetic organisms using the unicellular green alga, Chlamydomonas, as a model system.