Group name: Symbiogene
Group leaders : Pedro Carrasco / Myriam Catal√°
Affiliation: Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain
Research Topics : Abiotic stress, anhydrobiosis, microalgae, lichen, desiccation


Description: Aeroterrestrial microalgae, as well as lichens, are poikilohydric organisms; they cannot regulate their water content and are subject to fluctuations of environmental water. When these organisms lose their water content, they enter a state of anhydrobiosis until the next rehydration, which allows them to resume their metabolism. Allegedly, lichens and their associated phycobionts can survive indefinite dehydration/rehydration cycles and are therefore an interesting model to analyze the response to desiccation stress in a scenario of climate warming and water scarcity.

Aquaphotomics work: Near-infrared spectroscopy allows the analysis of the metabolomic profile of cells, providing a unique molecular fingerprint that allows the association of metabolomic changes to stress situations. This novel technique, together with aquaphotomics, has made it possible to analyze in depth all the differences at the molecular level, including water, between common plants and those adapted to total dehydration (“resurrection plants”). However, the molecular structure of water during dehydration of aeroterrestrial algae is still unknown.