Rosa Laura Lopez Marques

Rosa Laura Lopez Marques

Associate Professor

As a chemist, I have always being curious about how cells work as miniature chemical reactors. During my PhD on proton-pumps, I realized how much influence the processes that occur within biological membranes have on membrane dynamics. Therefore, it felt logical to move as a postdoctoral fellow to the study of P4-ATPases, which contribute to membrane lipid distribution, thus affecting membrane properties and vesicle formation. Since I established this research line, I have collected and developed a whole toolbox to study the mechanism, regulation and physiological role of these transporters with a focus in plants. My competences include Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Plant Biology, Advanced Microscopy and Plant Cell Biology.

Primary fields of research

The interest of the group is to understand the mechanisms underlying lipid translocation across biological membranes and vesicle formation along the secretory pathway. Our recent data suggests that these two processes are connected by the action of a family of protein pumps known as P4-ATPases (also called flippases).

P4-ATPases belong to a family of cation-transporting proteins, the P-type ATPases, involved in relevant physiological functions, such as the generation of electrochemical gradients across membranes or cell detoxification.

We currently focus on three parallel research lines: 1) How do P4-ATPases translocate lipids across membranes? 2) How is lipid translocation regulated in living cells? 3) What is the physiological relevance of plant P4-ATPases?

To unravel these questions we use a broad range of techniques based on homologous and heterologous expression systems: transient expression in tobacco epidermal cells, bioimaging, molecular cloning, mutant generation and characterization, analysis of protein-protein interactions, membrane isolation and protein purification, activity assays, functional complementation studies, plant phenotypical analysis.

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