Monica Calvo Polanco

Monica Calvo Polanco

AgreenSkills session, year: 1st session, 2015

Receiving laboratory: B&PMP Biochemistry and Plant Molecular Physiology, Montpellier

Country of origin : Spain




Mobility project


The regulation of water balance in plants is a key factor for their development and yield. Radial root diffusion of water is limited by the formation of hydrophobic barriers at the endodermis and the exodermis level, as well as by the regulation of aquaporins. Diffusional barriers, such as Casparian strips and suberin lamellae, are formed of lignin and suberin deposition at the endodermis level, and limit extracellular diffusion of water and solutes by providing tight seals between adjacent endodermal cells, and between the cell wall and the plasma membrane, respectively. The presented study is part of an interdisciplinary research program that aims at integrating molecular plant science with analytical chemistry, whole plant physiology and modelling. It will enable a molecularly directed manipulation of Casparian strips and suberin, for what we will use the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. With the help of Casparian strips and suberin-like mutants we aim to develop cutting-edge research than can be applied to crop varieties in order to improve their water use efficiency, and their resistance to abiotic stresses. In this particular proposal, we will elucidate the mechanisms involved in the plant water balance under salt stress through the analyses on their endodermal suberin, lignin deposition and aquaporins activity. The experimental plan will be connected to mathematical models under development in order to better measure and predict the role of these physical and chemical barriers in water and solute uptake.

Biography & research interests

I hold a PhD by the University of Alberta (Canada) on plant water relations with Dr. Janusz Zwiazek, which him I also worked as a Research Associate. After that, I moved to Dr. Ricardo Aroca´s lab at the EEZ (CSIC) Granada (Spain) with a Juan de la Cierva Fellowship. Currently, I am working at Dr. Maurel´s lab at the INRA-Montepellier (France) with the AgreenSkill Fellow. My overall research subject has been related with the study of plant water relations and its regulation through aquaporins at the physiological and molecular level, and in the presence of soil microorganisms. The projects I was involved in Canada and Spain were both basic-science and applied-science related, in collaboration with different industrial and Governmental units. My current research interests are framed into the ERA-CAPS European Root Barriers Project, focusing in elucidating the effects of the development of apoplastic endodermal barriers in water and solute transport in plants, and how they affect their development under salt stress.

Selected publications

Calvo-Polanco M, Sánchez-Castro I, Cantos M, García JL, Azcón R, Ruiz-Lozano JM, Beuzón CR, Aroca R (2016) Effects of different arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal backgrounds and soils on olive plants growth and water relation properties under well-watered and drought conditions. Plant Cell and Environment 39:2498-2614;

Calvo-Polanco M, Molina S, Zamarreño AM, García-Mina JM, Aroca R (2014) The symbiosis with the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregularis drives root water transport in flooded tomato plants. Plant and Cell Physiology 55:1017-29;

Calvo-Polanco M, Sanchez-Romera B and Aroca R (2014) Mild salt stress conditions induce different responses in root hydraulic conductivity of Phaseolus vulgaris over time. PLos ONE 9(3): e90631;

Calvo-Polanco M, Señorans J, and Zwiazek JJ (2012). Role of adventitious roots in water relations of tamarack (Larixlaricina) seedlings exposed to flooding. BMC Plant Biology 12:99.