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Dra.  Serra Figueras, Olga

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Research group
Grup de Recerca Laboratori del Suro

Brief CV

I am Associate Professor of Cellular Biology at the UdG since 2019 and co-lead the Cork Laboratory group at the Department of Biology. My expertise lies in the field of plant biology, with extensive experience in studying tissues acting as protective barriers, using molecular, histological, plant transformation, and chemical techniques. Using functional genetics in Arabidopsis and potato, I investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of the periderm and other ligno-suberified tissues such as the exodermis or endodermis, and how the different components of the cell wall contribute to their protective function. I have undertaken international collaboration stays in the research groups of Salomé Prat (CRG, Madrid), Lukas Schreiber/Benni Franke (University of Bonn), Ruth E. Stark (CCNY, USA), and Niko Geldner (University of Lausanne).



Associate Professor (Cell Biology)

PhD on Biology, University of Girona (2008)

Biology Degree, University of Girona (2002)


Research lines:

  • Identification of possible genes involved in the formation of phellem in Quercus suber using mass sequencing.
  • Functional genomics of phellem: characterisation of the genes in the formation of potato periderm.
  • Chemical and structural analyses of periderm suberin.

Scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals:

  • Serra O., Mähönen A. P.; Hetherington A. J.; Ragni L. (2022) The Making of Plant Armor: The Periderm. Annual Review of Plant Biology. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-arplant-102720-031405
  • Fernández-Piñán, S.; Sànchez-Guirado, C.; Figueras M.; Serra O. (2021) Gene Downregulation in Potato Roots Using Agrobacterium rhizogenes-Mediated Transformation. In: Dobnik D., Gruden K., Ramšak Ž., Coll A. (eds) Solanum tuberosum. Methods in Molecular Biology, vol 2354. Humana, New York, NY. pp 353-372 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-0716-1609-3_17
  • Kashyap, A.; Capellades, M.; Zhang, W.; Srinivasan, S.; Loromaine, A.; Serra, O.; Figueras, M.; Rencoret, J.; Gutiérrez, A.; Valls, M. & Coll, N.S. (2021) Induced ligno-suberin vascular coating and tyramine-derived hydroxycinnamic acid amides restrict Ralstonia solanacearum colonization in resistant tomato roots. BioRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.15.448549 ?
  • Boher, P.; Soler, M.; Fernández-Piñán, S.; Torrent, X.; Müller, S.; Kelly, K.A.; Serra, O. & Figueras, M. (2021) Silencing of StRIK in potato suggests a role in periderm related to RNA processing and stress. BMC Plant Biology: 21, 409. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12870-021-03141-z
  • Dastmalchi, K.; Chira, O.; Rodriguez, M.P.; Yoo, B.; Serra, O.; Figueras, M. & Stark R.E. (2021) A chemical window into the impact of RNAi silencing of the StNAC103 gene in potato tuber periderms: Soluble metabolites, suberized cell walls, and antibacterial defense. Phytochemistry 190: 112885. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2021.112885
  • Fernández-Piñán, S.; Boher, P.; Soler, M.; Figueras, M. & Serra, O. (2021). Transcriptomic analysis of cork during seasonal growth highlights regulatory and developmental processes from phellogen to phellem formation. Scientific Reports 11: 12053. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-90938-5
  • Busta, L.; Serra, O.; Kim, O.T.; Molinas, M.; Peré-Fossoul, I.; Figueras, M. & Jetter, R. (2020). Oxidosqualene cyclases involved in the biosynthesis of triterpenoids in Quercus suber cork. Scientific Reports 10: 8011. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-64913-5.
  • Soler, M.; Verdaguer, R.; Fernández-Piñan, S.; Company-Arumí, D.; Boher, P.; Góngora-Castillo, E.; Valls, M.; Anticó, E.; Molinas, M.; Serra, O. & Figueras, M. (2020). Silencing against the conserved NAC domain of the potato StNAC103 reveals new NAC candidates to repress the suberin associated waxes in phellem. Plant Science 291: 110360. DOI:10.1016/j.plantsci.2019.110360.
  • Fernández-Piñán, S.; López, J.; Armendariz, I.; Boher. P; Figueras, M.; Serra, O. (2019). Agrobacterium tumefaciens and Agrobacterium rhizogenes-mediated transformation of potato and the promoter activity of a suberin gene by GUS staining. Jove-Journal Of Visualized Experiments (145). DOI: 10.3791/59119.
  • Boher, P.; Soler, M.; Sánchez, A.; Hoede, C.; Paiva, JAP.; Serra, O. & Figueras, M. (2018). A comparative transcriptomic approach to understanding the formation of cork. Plant Molecular Biology (96): pg 103-118. DOI: 10.1007/s11103-017-0682-9.
  • Jin, L.; Cai, Q.; Huang, W.; Dastmalchi, K.; Rigau, J.; Molinas, M.; Figueras, M; Serra, O. & Stark, RE. (2018). Potato native and wound periderms are differently affected by down-regulation of FHT, a suberin feruloyl transferase. Phytochemistry (147): 30-48. DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2017.12.011.
  • Vera R.; Fontàs C. ; Galceran J. ; Serra O. & Anticó E. (2018). Polymer inclusion membrane to access Zn speciation: comparison with root uptake. Science of the Total Environment (1): 316-324. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.11.316.
  • Huang, W.; Serra, O.; Dastmalchi, K.; Jin, L.; Yang, L. & Stark, RE. (2017). Comprehensive MS and solid-state NMR metabolomic profiling reveals molecular variations in native periderms from four Solanum tuberosum potato cultivars. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (65): 2258-2274. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b05179.
  • Verdaguer, R.; Soler, M.; Serra, O.; Garrote, A.; Fernández, S.; Company-Arumí, D.; Anticó, E.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2016). Silencing of the potato StNAC103 gene enhances the accumulation of suberin polyester and associated wax in tuber skin. Journal of Experimental Botany 67(18): 5415-5427. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erw305.
  • Company-Arumí, D.; Figueras, M.; Salvadó, V.; Molinas, M.; Serra, O. & Anticó, E. (2016) The identification and quantification of suberin monomers of root and tuber periderm from potato (Solanum tuberosum) as fatty acyl tert-butyldimethylsilyl derivatives. Phytochemical Analysis 27:326-335. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/pca.2625
  • Graça, J.; Cabral, V.; Santos, S.; Lamosa, P.; Serra, O.; Molinas, M.; Schreiber, L.; Kauder, F.& Franke, R. (2015). Partial depolymerisation of genetically modified potato tuber periderm reveals intermolecular linkages in suberin polyester. Phytochemistry 117: 209-219. DOI: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.06.010.
  • Dastmalchi, K.; Kallash, L.; Wang, I.; Phan, Van C.; Huang, W.; Serra, O.; Stark, RE. (2015). The defensive armor of potato tubers: nonpolar metabolite profiling, antioxidant assessment, and solid-state NMR compositional analysis of suberin-enriched wound-healing tissues. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 63(60): 6810-6822. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jafc.5b03206.
  • Serra, O.; Chatterjee, S.; Figueras, M.; Molinas, M. & Stark, R. (2014). Deconstructing a plant macromolecular assembly: chemical architecture, molecular flexibility, and mechanical performance of natural and engineered potato suberins. Biomacromolecules 15(3):799-811. DOI: 10.1021/bm401620d
  • Dastmalchi, K.; Cai, Q.; Zhou, K.; Huang, W.; Serra, O. & Stark, R. (2014). Solving the jigsaw puzzle of wound-healing potato cultivars: metabolite profiling and antioxidant activity of polar extracts. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 62(31): 7963-7975. DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2012.06.013.
  • Boher, P.; Serra, O.; Soler, M.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2013). The potato suberin feruloyl transferase FHT which accumulates in the phellogen is induced by wounding and regulated by abscisic and salicylic acids. Journal of Experimental Botany 64(11):3225-3236. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert163.
  • Soler, M.; Serra, O.; Fluch, S.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2011). Potato skin SSH library yields new candidate genes for suberin biosynthesis and periderm formation. Planta 233(5): 933-945. DOI: 10.1007/s00425-011-1350-y.
  • Serra, O.; Chatterjee, S.; Huang, W. & Stark, RE. (2012). Mini-review: What nuclear magnetic resonance can tell us about protective tissues. Plant Science 195: 120-124. DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2012.06.013.
  • Soler, M.; Serra, O.; Fluch, S.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2011). Potato skin SSH library yields new candidate genes for suberin biosynthesis and periderm formation. Planta 233(5): 933-945. DOI: 10.1007/s00425-011-1350-y.
  • Serra, O.; Hohn, C.; Franke, R.; Prat, S.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2010). A feruloyl transferase involved in the biosynthesis of suberin and suberin-associated wax is required for maturation and sealing properties of potato periderm. Plant Journal 63(2):277-290. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04144.x.
  • Serra, O.; Figueras, M.; Franke, R.; Prat, S.; Molinas, M. (2010). Unraveling ferulate role in suberin and periderm biology by reverse genetics. Plant Signaling and Behaviour 5(8): 953-958. DOI: 10.4161/psb.5.8.12405.
  • Serra, O.; Soler, M.; Hohn, C.; Franke, R.; Schreiber, L.; Prat, S.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2009). Silencing of StKCS6 in potato periderm leads to reduced chain lengths of suberin and wax compounds and increased peridermal transpiration. Journal of Experimental Botany 60(2): 697-707. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ern314.
  • Serra, O.; Soler, M.; Hohn, C.; Sauveplane, V.; Pinot, F.; Franke, R.; Schreiber, L.; Prat, S.; Molinas, M. & Figueras, M. (2009). CYP86A33 targeted gene silencing in potato tuber alters suberin composition, distorts suberin lamellae and impairs the periderm's water barrier function. Plant Physiology 149(2): 1050-1060. DOI: 10.1104/pp.108.127183.
  • Soler, M.; Serra, O.; Molinas, M.; García-Berthou, M.; Caritat, A. & Figueras, M. (2008). Seasonal variation in transcript abundance in cork tissue analyzed by real time RT-PCR. Tree Physiology 28(5): 743-751.
  • Soler, M.; Serra, 0.; Molinas, M.; Huguet, G.; Fluch, S. & Figueras, M. (2007). A genomic approach to suberin biosynthesis and cork differentiation. Plant Physiology 144(1): 419-431. DOI: 10.1104/pp.106.094227.

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