The Botella Lab

The Botella Lab
From left to right: Upper row: David Posé, Maria José, Itziar Castanedo, Karen Merchante, Verónica Gonz´lez, Sonia Osorio Lower row: Victoriano Valpuesta, Eduardo Gross, Miguel A. Botella, Eduardo Cruz, Irene Araguez, Abel Rosado, Aureliano Bombarely

Research Interests

Only a reduced number of genes have been identified as critical for plant salt and drought tolerance. Using a genetic approach we have identified several tomato mutants (tss) hypersensitive to NaCl as well as 1 tomato (tos1) mutant specifically hypersensitive to drought stress. In our laboratory we use a combination of physiology, electrophysiology and molecular techniques in the characterization of these tomato mutants in order to define genes and processes important for salt and drought tolerance in plants. We are in the process of cloning some of these genes.

We are also using Arabidopsis in the identification of additional genes that are essential for salt and drought stress. In collaboration with Dr. Hasegawa we have identified a number of T-DNA mutants that are hypersensitive to salt and osmotic stress. We have identified the genes affected and we are working in the characterization of these mutants. We work together with Dr. Victoriano Valpuesta and his group and we are also interested in fruit ripening in tomato and strawberry using genomic approaches. We have identified an alternative pathway for vitamin C biosynthesis in strawberry fruits. In this pathway, the biosynthesis of vitamin C in ripe strawberry fruits, which are rich in this compound, occurs through D-galacturonic acid, the main constituent of cell-wall pectins. We have cloned a key gene of this pathway, GalUR, encoding a protein with NADPH-dependent D-galacturonate reductase activity that is specifically expressed in ripe strawberry fruits. We are interested in determine how universal is this pathway in other species including tomato.

Dr. Botella is Professor of the University of Málaga (Spain) since 1999 and one of the directors of the Laboratorio de Biotecnología de Plantas (Plant Biotechnology Laboratory) together with Dr. Valpuesta. He obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Málaga in 1994 spending some periods during his doctorate at Purdue University. After his Thesis, Dr. Botella worked as a posdoct in Purdue University under the supervision of Dr. Paul M. Hasegawa with the main focus on cysteine proteinase inhibitors. Later he spent 4 years in the Sainsbury Laboratory (John Innes Centre) under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan D.G. Jones working on Arabidopsis Resistant Genes.

Contact Information

University of Malaga
Dep. Biología Molecular y Bioquímica
Facultad de Ciencias
Campus de Teatinos s/n
29071 Málaga

Selected Publications

Borsani O, Valpuesta V, Botella MA (2001) Evidence for a role of salicylic acid in the oxidative damage generated by NaCl and osmotic stress in Arabidopsis seedlings. Plant Physiol 126: 1024-1030

Borsani O, Cuartero J, Fernandez JA, Valpuesta V, Botella MA (2001) Identification of two loci in tomato reveals distinct mechanisms for salt tolerance. Plant Cell 13: 873-887

Borsani O, Cuartero J, Valpuesta V, Botella MA (2002) Tomato tos1 mutation identifies a gene essential for osmotic tolerance and abscisic acid sensitivity. Plant Journal 32: 905-914

Gonzalez-Lamothe R, Segura R, Trapero A, Baldoni L, Botella MA, Valpuesta V (2002) Phylogeny of the fungus Spilocaea oleagina, the causal agent of peacock leaf spot in olive. FEMS Microbiology Lett 210: 149-155

Borsani, O., Valpuesta, V., and Botella, M.A. Developing salt tolerance plants in a new century: a molecular biology approach (Review). Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture 73: 101-115

Agius F, Gonzalez-Lamothe R, Caballero JL, Munoz-Blanco J, Botella MA, Valpuesta V (2003) Engineering increased vitamin C levels in plants by overexpression of a D-galacturonic acid reductase. Nature Biotechnology 21: 177-181

Rubio L, Rosado A, Linares-Rueda A, Borsani O, García-Sánchez MJ, Valpuesta V, Fern├índez JA, Botella MA. (2004) Regulation of K+ Transport in Tomato Roots by the TSS1 Locus. Implications in Salt Tolerance. Plant Physiology 134: 452-459

Castillejo C, Delafuente JI, Iannetta P, Botella MA and Victoriano Valpuesta. (2004). Pectin esterase gene family in strawberry fruit. Study of FaPE1, a ripening-specific isoform. Journal Experimental Botany. 55: 909-918.

Valpuesta V, Botella MA. (2004) Biosynthesis of L-ascorbic acid in plants: New pathways for an old antioxidant. Trends in Plant Science. In press.

Agius F, Amaya I, Botella MA, Valpuesta V. (2004) Functional analysis of homologous and heterologous promoters in strawberry fruits using transient expression. Journal Experimental Botany. In press.