Our main scientific interest resides on plant development, more specifically on the mechanism of action of peptide hormones, what are their cellular roles, what are the components of their signaling pathways and what are their effects on the plant physiology and plant development. This line of research started during my post-doctorate (Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA) where we discovered a new family of peptide hormones in plants that we called RALF, short for "Rapid Alkalinization Factor". This work was published in 2001 (PNAS v.98, p.12843 - 12847) and, since then, my group is trying to unravel not only the function of these peptides but also their mechanism of action. Two other papers from our group already in Brazil follow: one published in Plant Molecular Biology (73: 271-281) e another in FEBS Letters (582, 3343-3347). They both answer, although partially, questions related to preproRALF processing and also the function of RALF peptides in plants. Regarding the peptides function, we found that the RALF peptides regulate the cell expansion, more specifically the cellular elongation.
Nowadays, our group is dedicated, mainly, to three projects:
a) The characterization of the 37 RALF peptides in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
b) The relationship between RALF and the other plant hormones
c) The signal transduction pathway involved in RALF perception