Research Faculty #21

General Information

Academic History

1999   B.Sc.  Chemistry                                  University of Malaga

2006   Ph.D.  Molecular Biology                       University of Malaga

2006-2011   Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellow       UC-Riverside

2012-2014   Marie Curie Researcher                University of Malaga

Contact Information

Office Phone
Office Location
Suite 2315
Lab Location
Room 2234

Research Information

Research Abstract

Characterization of ER-PM contact site components involved in plant stress tolerance

Research Interests

Plasma membrane repair mechanisms in plants 

Abiotic stress episodes such as salinity, drought, and non-optimal temperatures constitute the principal cause of crop yield loss worldwide. To cope with this major constraint to agricultural production, the development of abiotic stress tolerant crops ensuring productivity under sub-optimal conditions has become of paramount importance for plant scientists. 

Plants undergo continuous exposure to multiple stresses that singularly or in combination induce cellular damage. To minimize damage, plants recognize environmental cues and trigger physiological, and biochemical reactions aimed to: 1) activate short-term repair mechanisms to avoid cell death due to plasma membrane (PM) disruptions, 2) Induce long-term physiological adaptations to increase the cellular resistance toward stresses, i.e. acclimation. Althoughclassical genetics and systems biology approaches have identified multiple pathways involved in stress acclimation, little is known about the subcellular events and components required to activating cellular repair after PM injury.In this context, our identification of the founding member of the Arabidopsis synaptotagmins gene family (SYT1) is an important advance. The syt mutant is defective in plasma membrane repair under various stress conditions, indicating that SYT1 is a key component in PM repair during stress.  What is not known is how SYT1 participates in the complex mechanism of PM repair, requiring the participation of Ca2+, phospholipids, and multiprotein complexes.

Thus, by investigating the function of the SYT family in abiotic stress tolerance and by identifying potential SYTs interacting partners, we will contribute to a better understanding of how plants modulate the PM repair processes. To achieve this long-term goal, we will use different experimental approaches described below combining tools from the genetics, physiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and cell biology fields on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.

Role of membrane contact sites (MCS) in abiotic stress tolerance. Bioinformatic studies have shown that plant SYTs harbors a membrane-binding domain found exclusively in proteins localized in MCSs. Our SYT1 immuno- and co-localization studies, suggest that different SYTs might act as a multiprotein complex in MCSsbetween the PM and the cortical endoplasmic reticulum (cER). We intend to use TEM microscopy and 3D-modeling of the PM-cER contact sites to identify structural features linked to the increased abiotic stress sensitivity on syt mutants.

Cell picture

Analysis of the SYT1 role in non-vesicular phospholipid transfer.  SYT1 is closely associated to the PM and binds negatively charged artificial liposomes in a Ca+2 -dependent mode, however the lipid species bound in vivo has not been characterized. By using lipid-protein overlay assays at different Ca+2 concentrations we will identify specific lipids involved in the interactions with SYT1. Next, we will develop fluorescent markers against those lipids to study putative changes on their distribution and dynamics in syt mutants background.


Cell picture


Identification of SYTs binding partners. In animals, a number of SYTs protein interactors bridging apposed membranes have been identified. Since no SYTs interactors has been identified in plants, we propose to use techniques based on split-GFP markers (BIF/FRET), immunoprecipitation and proteomic analysis using both a transgenic SYT1::SYT1-GFP line and specific anti-SYT antibodies, and CHIP protein assays to identify putative SYTs binding partners.


Suppressor and Targeted screen for additional PM repair components 

 The Arabidopsis SYTs family is composed by five members. Despite its importance for PM repair after injury, the quintuple SYTs mutant is viable and only displays visible phenotypes under stress conditions. We hypothesize that additional protein components might be involved in PM integrity maintenance on standard conditions. To identify those components we will perform a targeted screen of known mutants involved in related processes such as endocytosis/exocytosis, cytoskeleton organization, phospholipid transport, Ca+2 transport or cell wall biosynthesis using an innovative viability assay that we have developed. We will also perform a non-targeted forward genetic screen looking for suppressors of the syt1 phenotypes under combined NaCl / low Ca+2 stress conditions.

Team Members

Dr. Eunkyoung Lee              -  Research Associate

Jessica Perez Sancho           -  Ph.D. Student

Francisco Benitez-Fuente     -  M.Sc Candidate

Melissa Ko                          -   Work/Learn Student

Shelley Wu                         -   Undergraduate volunteer Student

Geety Hafizi                        -   Undergraduate volunteer Student

Elizabeth Samuels               -  Undergraduate volunteer Student

Selected Publications

Research at UBC

2017.  Bayer, EM. Sparkes I, Vanneste S, Rosado A. From shaping organelles to signalling platforms: the emerging functions of plant ER-PM contact sites. Curr. Op. Plant Biol. 2017; In press

2017.  McFarlane HE, Lee EK, van Bezouwen LS, Ross B, Rosado A, Samuels AL. Multiscale Structural Analysis of Plant ER-PM Contact Sites. Plant Cell Physiol. 2017; 58: 478-484.

2016.  Pérez-Sancho J, Tilsner J, Samuels AL, Botella MA, Bayer EM, Rosado A. Stitching Organelles: Organization and Function of Specialized Membrane Contact Sites in PlantsTrends Cell Biol. 2016; 26:705-717.

2016.  Pérez-Sancho J, Schapire AL, Botella MA, Rosado AAnalysis of Protein-Lipid Interactions Using Purified C2 DomainsMethods Mol Biol. 2016;1363:175-87.

2016.  Tilsner J, Nicolas W, Rosado A, Bayer EM. Staying Tight: Plasmodesmal Membrane Contact Sites and the Control of Cell-to-Cell Connectivity in Plants. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 2016; 67:337-364.

2015.  Pérez-Sancho J, Vanneste S, Lee E, McFarlane HE, Esteban del Valle, A, Valpuesta V, Friml J, Botella MA, Rosado A. The Arabidopsis synaptotagmin1 is enriched in endoplasmic reticulum-plasma membrane contact sites and confers cellular resistance to mechanical stresses. Plant Physiol. 2015. 168:132-143.

2015.  Laranjeira S, Amorim-Silva V, Esteban A, Arró M, Ferrer A, Tavares RM, Botella MA, Rosado A, Azevedo H. Arabidopsis Squalene Epoxidase 3 (SQE3) Complements SQE1 and Is Important for Embryo Development and Bulk Squalene Epoxidase Activity. Mol. Plant. 2015; 8:1090-1102

2014.  Fonseca S, Rosado A, Vaughan-Hirsch J, Bishopp A, Chini A. Molecular locks and keys: the role of small molecules in phytohormone research. Front Plant Sci. 2014; 17;5:709.

Previous research

2013.  Doblas VG, Amorim-Silva V, Posé D, Rosado A, Esteban A, Arró M, Azevedo H, Bombarely A, Borsani O, Valpuesta V, Ferrer A, Tavares RM, Botella MA. The SUD1 gene encodes a putative E3 ubiquitin ligase and is a positive regulator of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme a reductase activity in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 2013; 25: 728–743. 

2012.  Rosado A*, Li R*, van de Ven W, Hsu E, Raikhel NV. Arabidopsis ribosomal proteins control developmental programs through translational regulation of auxin response factors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2012; 109: 19537-19544.*Equal contributors.

2012.  Lima-Silva V, Rosado A, Amorin-Silva V, Muñoz-Mérida A, Pons C, Bombarely A, Trelles O, Fernández-Muñoz R, Granell A, Valpuesta V, and Botella MA. Genetic and genome-wide transcriptomic analyses identify co-regulation of oxidative response and hormone transcript abundance with vitamin C content in tomato fruit. BMC Genomics. 201213: 187 

2012.  Lakhssassi N, Doblas VG, Rosado A, Esteban Del Valle A, Posé D, Jimenez AJ, Castillo AG, Valpuesta V, Borsani O, Botella MA. The Arabidopsis tetratricopeptide thioredoxin-like gene family is required for osmotic stress tolerance and male sporogenesisPlant Physiol. 2012158: 1252-1266  

2011.  Rosado A*, Hicks GR*, Norambuena L, Rogachev I, Meir S, Pourcel L, Zouhar J, Brown MQ, Boirsdore MP, Puckrin RS, et al., Sortin1-hypersensitive mutants link vacuolar-trafficking defects and flavonoid metabolism in Arabidopsis vegetative tissues. Chem. Biol201118: 187-197.*Equal contributors. 

2010.  Rosado A and Raikhel, NV.Understanding plant vacuolar trafficking from a systems biology perspective. Plant Physiol2010; 154: 545-550. 

2010.  Rosado A, Sohn EJ, Drakakaki G, Pan S, Swidergal A, Xiong Y, Kang BH, Bressan RA, Raikhel NV. Auxin-mediated ribosomal biogenesis regulates vacuolar trafficking in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 201022: 143-158.  

2010.  Agee AE, Surpin M, Sohn EJ, Girke T, Rosado A, Kram BW, Carter C, Wentzell AM, Kliebenstein DJ, Jin HC, Park OK, Jin H, Hicks GR, Raikhel NV.MODIFIED VACUOLE PHENOTYPE1 is an Arabidopsis myrosinase-associated protein involved in endomembrane protein trafficking. Plant Physiol. 2010152: 120-132.   

2009.  Posé D, Castanedo I, Borsani O, Nieto B, Rosado A, Taconnat L, Ferrer A, Dolan L, Valpuesta V, Botella MA. Identification of the Arabidopsis dry2/sqe1-5 mutant reveals a central role for sterols in drought tolerance and regulation of reactive oxygen species. Plant J. 200959: 63-76.  

2008.  Schapire AL, Voigt B, Jasik J, Rosado A, Lopez-Cobollo R, Menzel D, Salinas J, Mancuso S, Valpuesta V, Baluska F, Botella MA. Arabidopsis synaptotagmin 1 is required for the maintenance of plasma membrane integrity and cell viability. Plant Cell. 200820: 3374-3388.