In the Cork Laboratory we focus on the molecular mechanisms giving rise to cork or phellem. Due to its enhanced capacity to produce phellem cells, the cork of cork oak (Quercus suber) is used as a model to identify candidate genes of phellem formation and suberization. To confirm the role of some of these candidates to the protection function of the tissue and to better understand the molecular and physiological function of the gene, a reverse genetic approach is performed in the potato tuber peel. We study genes involved in suberin accumulation and regulatory genes.
Our current research lines are:
- Identification of candidate genes responsible of phellem formation in Quercus suber using deep-sequencing.
- Functional genomics of the phellem – Characterization of potatoes’ periderm formation genes.
- Chemical and structural analyses of suberin in potato modified periderms.
SEM micrograph of a potato tuber outer region in which the phellem (skin) cells are highly organized in columns, in comparison with the underneath parenchymatic tissue with some cells containing starch granules.
Potato (Solanum tuberosum) skin (phellem). Confocal image in which green fluorescence indicates suberin staining.