Brassinosteroid Signaling in Plant Development

Group Structure

Group Leader: Ana I. Caño-Delgado (CSIC Assistant Professor)
Postdoctoral Researchers: Norma Fàbregas
PhD Students: Irina Pavelescu, Josep Vilarrasa
Undergrad or Master Students: Marta Jaromin, Iñigo Lobregat, Fidel Lozano
General Research Support: Patricia Torras


We investigate how BR signaling controls plant development, in particular we are focused at understanding the spatial regulation of Brassinosteroid (BR) signaling in the vascular and stem cells. We established the primary root as a model organ to investigate how BRs control distinct cellular activities during plant development, and we have found that BRs play key roles in stem cell function and cell cycle progression at the root meristem development (Gonzalez-Garcia et al., 2011), opening new avenues to study the role of stem cells on a mechanistic level.

To advance in this direction, our laboratory has taken two experimental approaches towards the identification of Brassinosteroid signalling components in specific cellular domains:

(i) Using cell-type based transcriptomics, we have identified BRAVO (Brassinosteroids at Vascular and Organizing centre), a novel BR-signalling component that negatively regulates Quiescent Centre (QC) cells division in the primary root of Arabidopsis (Vilarrasa et al., in press Developmental Cell). This is to our understanding the first BR signalling component that specifically operates at the stem cell quiescence.

(ii) Moreover, we have purified the vascular BRL3 (BRI1-like receptor 3) signalosome from Arabidopsis using MS-spectroscopy and carried the functional characterization of several relevant interactors (Fábregas et al., Plant Cell 2013). Currently, a number of novel BRL3 partners that localize at vascular and stem cells are awaiting characterization. Overall, the combination of these approaches led to the discovery of a new BRL3-mediated signalling pathway that specifically operates at the provascular and QC cells.

Research Projects

  • Brassinosteroid signaling in root development
  • Identification and functional characterization of Brassinosteroid singaling components acting in the (vascular) stem cells
  • Spatial regulation of Brassinosteroid receptors in plants
  • Establishing of life imaging tools for the analysis of stem cells and nuclear properties
  • We are also investigating how different plants use phytohormone signaling pathways to sustain environmental assaults, i.e. drought, salt and nutrient deficiency.


Selected Publications

Irani N.G., Di Rubbo S., Mylle E., Van Den Begin J., Schneider-Pizon J., Hnilikova J., Sisa M., Buyst D., Vilarrasa-Blasi J., Szatmari A.-M., Van Damme D., Mishev K., Codreanu M.-C., Kohout L., Strnad M., Cano-Delgado A.I., Friml J., Madder A., Russinova E.
Fluorescent castasterone reveals BRI1 signaling from the plasma membrane
(2012) Nature Chemical Biology, vol. 8 (6), pp. 583-589

Marshall A., Aalen R.B., Audenaert D., Beeckman T., Broadley M.R., Butenko M.A., Caño-Delgado A.I., de Vries S., Dresselhaus T., Felix G., Graham N.S., Foulkes J., Granier C., Greb T., Grossniklaus U., Hammond J.P., Heidstra R., Hodgman C., Hothorn M., Inze D., Ostergaard L., Russinova E., Simon R., Skirycz A., Stahl Y., Zipfel C., De Smet I.
Tackling drought stress: RECEPTOR-LIKE KINASES present new approaches
(2012) Plant Cell, vol. 24 (6), pp. 2262-2278

Caño-Delgado A.I., Blazquez M.A.
Spatial control of plant steroid signaling
(2013) Trends in Plant Science, vol. 18 (5), pp. 235-236

Fabregas N., Li N., Boeren S., Nash T.E., Goshe M.B., Clouse S.D., de Vries S., Caño-Delgado A.I.
The BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE1-LIKE3 signalosome complex regulates Arabidopsis root development
(2013) Plant Cell, vol. 25 (9), pp. 3377-3388

Zhiponova M.K., Vanhoutte I., Boudolf V., Betti C., Dhondt S., Coppens F., Mylle E., Maes S., Gonzalez-Garcia M.-P., Caño-Delgado A.I., Inze D., Beemster G.T.S., De Veylder L., Russinova E.
Brassinosteroid production and signaling differentially control cell division and expansion in the leaf
(2013) New Phytologist, vol. 197 (2), pp. 490-502