Metabolism and Signaling in Plants


Availability of plant genome sequences and the development of high-throughput technologies for global analyses have allowed addressing our studies to the plant metabolic and signalling systems. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) is an important crop worldwide, especially as a food for humans. Our lab is involved in the search of associations between the metabolic composition and the nutritional and organoleptic properties related with the flavour of tomato varieties from Argentine Andes. We are interested in identifying the tomato varieties that better adapt to extreme environmental conditions to characterize at molecular level the postharvest chilling injury and contribute to design new technologies to avoid it. We are also interested in the signalling molecules involved in gene expression under adverse environmental conditions and activation of adaptation responses using Arabidopsis thaliana as model plant.

Research Lines

Functional analyses of plant metabolism from a system biology perspective

PI: Estela M. Valle -


The main goal is to understand the mechanisms of regulation of compounds that confer quality to horticultural species using tomato as model system (Solanum lycopersicum). Tomato is an important crop worldwide and an integral part of the human diet. It is associated with prevention of cardiovascular and degenerative diseases and cancer. These properties are due to antioxidant compounds present in fruits and therefore tomato is considered as a functional food. The consumers demand qualities, some valuable properties of tomato fruit are longer shelf life, good flavours and taste, and higher antioxidant contents. However, the tomato production in Argentina has not reached the demand yet, because lack of knowledge to assess the fruit quality. A crucial aspect to evaluate these resources is to have a highly diverse germosplasm. Therefore, this research is oriented to characterize the germoplasm that contains several native species of Sudamerica and the cultivated varieties from Andean population. This characterization involves integral analyses of tomato plants including phenotypes, and physiological, biochemical or molecular aspects. This study tends to use and valorise the genetic resources with differential qualities evaluated by conventional techniques and gas/liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS and LC-MS), and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). The final goal is to use the generated knowledge to improve other plant products.


Low temperature injury in fruits: factors involved and design of technologies to avoid it

Responsible Research: Silvana Boggio -


One of the main limitations in the commercialization of fruits and horticultural products is the postharvesting, registering 20-25% losses. The available technology to avoid it is the use of chemicals and refrigeration. The latter is associated with the development of low temperature injury, a physiological disorder that limit its use and its mechanism of generation is the subject of this research. Our interest is to know the mechanisms that generate low temperature injury and to contribute to develop new technologies for managing this physiological disease that affect storage and transportation of fruits. For this study we selected tomato due to its high interest in the region. We perform evaluation of tomato cultivars with different susceptibility to low temperature injury analysing the antioxidant system, the induction of alternative oxidase and the production of heat shock proteins. We also evaluate the influence of low temperature storage in the transcriptional and metabolic profiles of tomato fruits, to understand at the molecular level the changes occurred in the fruits at each storage stage.


Characterization of genes with unknown function induced by reactive oxygen species in higher plants

Responsible Research: María Inés Zanor -


It is known that different environmental conditions provoke changes in the transcriptome of Arabidopsis such as hydrogen peroxide, salt or osmotic stresses, cold, drought, high light, wounding, pathogens and hormones. However, the biochemical function of some genes regulated by stress has not been elucidated yet. Our interest is to decipher the signal transduction pathway initiated in chloroplasts from the superoxide anion (O2.-). Therefore, we modify the expression level “in planta” of the proteins encoded by those genes and characterize them using reverse genetic as tool. We evaluate different plant lines in their phenotypic, biochemical and physiological aspects. We also evaluate the effect of the application of abiotic stress in the physiology of the genetically modified plants. All data are integrated and related with the different tolerance of plants to the applied stress.

Selected Publications

  • Ré MD, Gonzalez C, Escobar MR, Sossi ML, Valle EM, Boggio SB (2016) Small Heat Shock Proteins and the postharvest chilling tolerance of tomato fruit. PhysiologiaPlantarum, enprensa
  • Di Paola Naranjo RD, Otaiza S, Saragusti A, Baroni V, Carranza AV, Peralta IE, Valle EM, Carrari F, Asis R (2016) Hydrophilic antioxidants from Andean Tomato Landraces assessed by their bioactivities in vitro and in vivo. Food Chemistry 206, 146-155
  • Gonzalez C, Ré MD, Sossi ML, Valle EM, Boggio SB (2015) Tomato cv. ‘Micro-Tom’ as a model system to study postharvest chilling tolerance. ScientiaHorticulturae, 184:63–69
  • Ferraro G, D'Angelo M, Sulpice R, Stitt M, Valle EM (2015) Reduced levels of NADH-dependent glutamate dehydrogenase decrease the glutamate content of ripe tomato fruit but have no effect on green fruit or leaves. J Exp Bot.66(11):3381-9.
  • Lopez M, Zanor MI, Pratta GR, Stegmayer G, Boggio SB, Conte N, Bermudez L, ColuccioLeskow C, Rodriguez GR, Picardi LA, Zorzoli R, Fernie AR, Milone D, Asis R, Valle EM, Carrari F (2015) Metabolic analyses of interspecific tomato recombinant inbred lines for fruit quality improvement. Metabolics DOI10.1007/s11306-015-0798-3
  • Scarpeci TE, Zanor MI, Mueller-Roeber B, Valle EM (2013) Overexpression of AtWRKY30 enhances abiotic stress tolerance during early growth stages in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Molecular Biology, 83:265–277
  • Sorrequieta A, Abriata LA, Boggio SB, Valle EM (2013) Off-the-Vine ripening of tomato fruit causes alteration in the primary metabolite composition. Metabolites, 3:967-978 (doi: 10.3390/metabo3040967).
  • Ré MD, González C, Sdrigotti MA, Sorrequieta A, Valle EM, Boggio SB (2012) Ripening tomato fruit after chilling storage alters protein turnover” Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 92: 1490-1496
  • Ferraro G, Bortolotti S, Mortera P, Schlereth A, Stitt M, Carrari F, Kamenetzky L, Valle EM (2012) Novel glutamate dehydrogenase genes show increased transcript and protein abundances in mature tomato fruits. Journal of Plant Physiology, 169:899-907
  • Sorrequieta, A., Ferraro, G., Boggio, S.B., Valle, E.M. (2010) Free amino acid production during tomato fruit ripening: a focus on L-glutamate. Amino Acids 38, 1523–1532.


  • Prof. Dr. Ivo Feussner (Universidad de Göttingen, Alemania)
  • Fernando Carrari (IB-INTA Castelar).
  • Ramón Asís (Fac. Cs. Qcas, UNC).
  • Iris Peralta (Fac. Agr., UN Cuyo).


  • Agencia Nacional de PromociónCientífica y Tecnológica: PICT2012, 0482 y 2709 (2013-2016); PICT-2013-1015, 2014-2017
  • Consejo Nacional de InvestigacionesCientíficas y Técnicas: PIP 349 (2014-2017) y PIP 2014-755 (2016-2019)


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Valle, Estela M.
Core CCT
Phone: +54 341 4237070
Office Extension: 643
Laboratory Extension: 612

Análisis integrado de datos de tomates andinos

Expresión de AtWRKY30 en flores y hojas de Arabidopsis

Expresión de AtWRKY30 en flores y hojas de Arabidopsis