Cell signaling in Chlamydomonas


Our group has been pioneer in the study of the TOR signaling pathway, a cell growth master regulator, and autophagy, a TOR-controlled degradative process required for the cellular adaptation to stress, in microalgae using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as model system.
The main goal of our research is to understand how nutrient availability and stress regulate TOR signaling and autophagy in microalgae.
Specific research lines include:
• Components and regulation of the TOR pathway in Chlamydomonas.
• Functional analysis of autophagy in Chlamydomonas cells subjected to stress conditions including chloroplast damage and oxidative stress.
• Molecular mechanisms involved in the redox regulation of ATG proteins.
• Characterization of TOR and autophagy in extremophilic microalgae.
• Crosstalk between inositol polyphosphates and TOR signaling.
• Crosstalk between stress granules, TOR and autophagy.


Stéphane Lemaire (CNRS, Paris, France)
Enrique Martínez-Force (Instituto de la Grasa, Sevilla)
James Umen (Danforth Plant Science Center, Sant Louis, USA)
Leslie Hicks (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA)
Cecilia Gotor/Luis Carlos Romero (IBVF, Sevilla)
Michael Schroda (TU Kaiserslautern, Germany)
Peter Bozhkov (SLU Uppsala)
Sabeeha Merchant (University of California, USA)
Jean-David Rochaix (University of Geneva)

- Depicting the TOR signaling pathway in Chlamydomonas.
- Elucidating the role of autophagy in Chlamydomonas.
- Crosstalk between inositol polyphosphates, TOR and autophagy.
- Crosstalk between stress granules, TOR and autophagy.
- Microalgae from extreme environments.

• Plan Nacional (PID2019-110080GB-I00), Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación.
• Plan Nacional (PGC2018-0994048B-100), Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades.
• Plan Nacional (BFU2015-68216-P), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.
• Plan Nacional (BIO2015-74432-JIN), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad.
• Proyecto ComFuturo (OTR02178), Fundación General del CSIC
• H2020 Marie Curie (reSGulating), European Union
• H2020 Marie Curie (INSPirAUTOR), European Union
• Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB): Molecular mechanism of autophagy in algae and its application in algal fuels.

Selected Publications
Type: Publications in journals
Phosphorus availability regulates TORC1 signaling in Chlamydomonas.
Authors: Couso, I., Pérez-Pérez, M.E., Ford, M.M., Martínez-Force, E., Hicks, L.M., Umen, J.G., Crespo, J.L.
Publication Year: 2020
Pages: 69-80
Journal: Plant Cell
Volume: 32
Type: Publications in journals
Chloroplast damage induced by the inhibition of fatty acid synthesis triggers autophagy in Chlamydomonas
Authors: Heredia-Martinez, L.G., Andres-Garrido, A., Martinez-Force, E., Perez-Perez, M.E., Crespo, J.L.
Publication Year: 2018
Pages: 1112-1129
Journal: Plant Physiol.
Volume: 178(3)