Home page / Fellows & Labs / Fellows & Alumni / Irene Maria Serrano Valdivia

Irene Maria Serrano Valdivia

Irene Maria Serrano Valdivia

session, year:
2014 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
UMR LIPM Laboratory of Plant Microbes Interactions, Toulouse

Country of origin:

United States of America

Country of destination:


Last available contact

Download Curriculum Vitae

Mobility project

Deciphering the protective roles of transcriptional regulators of innate immunity during seed development in Arabidopsis thaliana

The Arabidopsis MYB transcription factor MYB30 is a key activator of plant immune responses through the induction of the expression of VLCFA-related genes, including genes involved in cuticle biosynthesis. The MIEL subfamily of RING-type E3-ubiquitin-ligases comprises 4 members (MIEL1-4) all of which are able to interact with and ubiquitinate MYB30, leading to suppression of plant defences. Intriguingly, in healthy plants, MYB30, MIEL1 and MIEL4 are specifically expressed in young embryos at the timepoint when embryonic cuticle reinforcement occurs. Since the molecular mechanisms behind these exciting findings remain largely unknown, my project will explore the poorly characterized crosstalk between signalling pathways involved in plant development and defence responses.

Biography & research interests

During my PhD at the Estación Experimental del Zaidín in Granada (Spain), I focused on the physiological aspects of programmed cell death (PCD) related to incompatible pollen rejection in olive tree. To study the mechanisms of pollen rejection in olive I used a cell biological approach, which allowed me to demonstrate that olive displays all of the features that characterize species with gametophytic self-incompatibility. We observed for the first time, that peroxynitrite is produced during pollination and that this is related to an increase in protein nitration and PCD. For my postdoctoral research I moved to Indiana University where I focused my research on PCD during biotic and abiotic stress responses in plants. I have been working on the identification and characterization of substrates of the Arabidopsis protein kinase EDR1 (Enhanced Disease Resistance1), which is a negative regulator of cell death under different stress responses. I became interested in ATL1 (Arabidopsis Toxicos en Levaduras1). Thanks to an AgreenSkills Incoming Fellowship, during my stay at the LIPM I have explored the role of key defence-related transcriptional regulators of plant immune responses in harnessing a primary role in embryo development.

Selected publications

Serrano I*, Campos L, Rivas S*., 2018. Roles of E3ubiquitin-ligases in nuclear protein homeostasis during plant stress responses. Frontiers in Plant Science (9): 139. Doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.00139. * Co-corresponding authors

Schaller A, Stintzi A, Rivas S, Serrano I, Chickova NV, Vartapetian AB, Martínez D, Guiamét JJ, Sueldo D, Hoorn R, Ramírez V, Gonzalez B, Vera P (2018) From structure to function - a family portrait of plant subtilases. New Phytologist, 218(3): 901-915.

Lema S, Vercammen D, Serrano I, Valls M, Rivas S, van Breusegem F, Conlon FL, Dangl JL, Coll NS (2018) AtSERPIN1 is an inhibitor of the metacaspase AtMC1-mediated cell death an autocatalytic processing in planta. New Phytologist, 218(3): 1156-1166.

Serrano I*, Buscaill P*, Audran C, Pouzet C, Jauneau A, Rivas S, 2016. A non-canonical subtilase attenuates the transcriptional activation of defence responses in Arabidopsis thaliana. eLife, 5:e19755. Doi: 10.7554/ eLife.19755. * Co-first authors

Serrano I, Audran C, Rivas S., 2016. Chloroplasts at work during plant innate immunity. Journal of Experimental Botany, 67 (13): 3845-3854. Doi: 10.1093/jxb/erw088.

Serrano I, Romero-Puertas M, Sandalio LM, Olmedilla A., 2014. Involvement of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide in programmed cell death associated with self incompatibility in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66 (10): 2869-2876. Doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv083. * Article selected for cover picture

Serrano I*, Gu Y*, Dubiella U, Innes RW. 2014. The Arabidopsis Enhanced Disease Resistance 1 Protein Kinase Negatively Regulates the ATL1 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase To Suppress Cell Death. Plant Cell, 26: 4532-4546. * Co-first authors*

Awards & patents

2014 International Society of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions Travel Award for attending the XVI International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Rhodes, Greece.

Indiana University Travel Award for Women in Science for attending the XVI International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Rhodes, Greece.

2010 European Union Seventh Framework Program for Research (FP7) travel award for attending the course: “Climate change: challenge for training of applied plant scientist. Challenge for Plant Breeding and the Biotech Response”, Martonvasar, Hungary.

2009 Spanish Microscopy Society Grant to attend the first Joint Meeting of the Spanish and the Portuguese Microscopy Societes, Segovia, Spain.

Spanish Microscopy Society Grant to attend the course “Cryomethods in Microscopy and their Applications in the Study of Biological Material”, Murcia, Spain.

2008 Scientific Grant of the Andalucía Government (Spain) for Short Research Stay at Embrapa Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnología, Brasilia, Brasil.

Talks in annual meetings


Transcriptional regulation, plant immunity, seed development, embryogenesis, biotic and abiotic stress