By Dr. M. Elena Alvarez, from CIQUIBIC
Dr. Maria Elena Alvarez gave the “Jorge W. Abalos” Lecture at the Third Joint Meeting of Biology Societies, held on September 9-11, 2015 in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina. The Abalos Lecture was established by the Society of Biology of Cordoba in recognition of Dr. Jorge Washington Abalos, prestigious Argentine teacher and entomologist.
Dr. Alvarez, Principal Researcer of CONICET and Associate Professor at the Department of Biological Chemistry- CIQUIBIC, College of Chemical Sciences, National University of Cordoba. Her line of research is focused on the molecular basis of resistance to microbial pathogens in Arabidopsis.
In her lecture “Arabidopsis defenses against pathogens: new mitochondrial and nuclear responses”, she presented the progress made by her research group related to the modulation of the hypersensitive response (HR) mediated by changes in the metabolism of L-proline and epigenetic alterations triggered by bacterial infections. Studies carried out in her group allowed to assign new functions in coordinating mitochondrial oxidative burst occurred in the HR, describing the molecular mechanism by which mitochondrial proline dehydrogenase enzyme promotes the accumulation of reactive oxygen species and induction cell death. Moreover, they have also revealed changes in the state of condensation of the centromeric chromatin triggered by infection with Pseudomonas, identifying a plant enzyme involved in this process and which is a component of the DNA repair system and affects oxidative stress tolerance.