PILAR S. TESTILLANO
Pilar S. Testillano
Scientific Researcher of CSIC
Biological Research Center, CIB-CSIC
We analyze the regulation of the stress-induced pollen embryogenesis, in vitro process in which the microspore is reprogrammed, acquires totipotency and originates an embryo and a doubled-haploid plant, potent biotechnological tool in plant breeding, but with limited efficiency in many agro-forestry species. Main research lines are: the role of autophagy, ROS, and proteases in plant programmed cell death (PCD) during pollen development and stress-induced microspore embryogenesis, its epigenetic regulation by DNA methylation and histone modifications, the role of phytohormones (auxins and cytokinins), and cell wall remodeling mediated by pectin methyl esterase and arabinogalactan proteins. We use the crop model systems of rapeseed and barley, and evaluate the aplicability and extension of the results to other species of interest for agriculture (horticulture and fruit trees), bioenergy or forestry (cork oak).