Miss Dori Zafra Alvarez

  Dori Zafra Alvarez

Contact details (UK)

School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol, BS8 1UG
phone: +44 (0)117 928 7470
fax: +44 (0)117 331 7985
e-mail: Dori.Zafra@bristol.ac.uk

Contact details (Spain)

Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology of Plants
Estación Experimental del Zaidín
Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC)
Profesor Albareda 1
18008 Granada, SPAIN
phone: +34 958181600 Ext. 306
fax: +34 958129600
web: www.eez.csic.es
e-mail: Dori.Zafra@eez.csic.es

Research interests

Localization, molecular and functional characterization of enzymes involved in oxygen and nitrogen metabolism in olive reproductive tissues

The fertilization in Angiosperm flowers involves complex signalling processes between the pollen grain and the stigma, which occur at specific moments of flower development. Several enzymes and molecules related to ROS and RNS metabolism have been described as being involved in Sexual Reproduction of Plants.

The main objectives of my research are to characterize at the molecular level, establish the cellular localization and study the expression levels of several enzymes involved in ROS and RNS metabolism in the pollen grain and the stigma of olive flowers (Olea euroapea L.).

Currently, I am a PhD student at the Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ), a Research Institute belonging to the Spanish Council for Scientist Research (CSIC) in Granada, Spain. My work takes place at the Sexual Plant Reproduction Group and I will be collaborating with Prof Simon Hiscock and the Plant Reproduction and Speciation Group at the University of Bristol throughout my PhD. My supervisor is Dr Juan de Dios Alché. Late in 2009, I undertook a short stay with the above-mentioned group in Bristol. Early in 2010 I also made a short research visit with the group of Prof John Hancock at the University of West England, carrying out research coordinated by both Prof Simon Hiscock and Dr Juan de Dios Alché.

We have cloned several forms of Cu/Zn SOD from olive pollen of different cultivars. These forms show relatively low (although noticeable) levels of sequence polymorphism. Two major isoforms were detected by in silico analysis. Regarding the in vivo analysis of ROS and RNS, we have localized the presence of H2O2, superoxide radicals and NO in olive reproductive tissues at different developmental stages. I am also interested in the characterization of other enzymes like peroxidase and catalase, and I am also analysing the presence of ROS, RNS and related enzymes during olive pollen germination in vivo and in vitro.

Recent publications

  • Zafra A, Rodríguez-García, MI & Alché, JD. (2010) Cellular localization of ROS and NO in olive reproductive tissues during flower development. BMC Plant Biology 10:36.
  • Zafra, A, Jiménez-López, JC, Pulido, A, Rodríguez-García, MI & Alché, JD. (2010) 'Cu,Zn-Superoxide Dismutase polymorphism in olive (Olea europaea L.) pollen from different cultivars,' In preparation.
Estación Experimental del Zaidín Spanish Council for Scientific Research Sexual Plant Reproduction Group

olive flowers

Olea europaea cv. Picual flowers at different stages of development. It is usual to find flowers at different developmental stages within the same inflorescence. In some cultivars, a high percentage of the flowers are exclusively staminate due to the abortion of the pistil.

close-up of olive flower

Olea europaea cv. Picual flower displaying anthers completely dehiscent with the pollen ready to be dispersed by wind and a bilobed, wet stigma covered by pollen grains. Self-incompatibility has been described in several olive cultivars. The incompatibility system of the olive is likely to be of the gametophytic type, although not well determined yet.

Estación Experimental del Zaidón

Estación Experimental del Zaidón in Granada, Spain. This institute is devoted to agricultural sciences and belongs to the Spanish Council for Scientific Research.

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