01.12.21. The Proof of Concept project 'BioStress' for the development of microbe-based plant biostimulants for crop abiotic stress protection has been elected for funding by the AEI. This project will develop new biostimulant products to cope against salinity and freezing in crops. The project will also develop new biostimulant screen platforms.
09.09.21. We offer one Master position for the academic course 2021-22, in frame of the Biotechnology Master offered  by the University of Barcelona. Topic: CRISPR technology applied to plants. (Position Filled)
Contact information: Dr. Rubén Alcázar. Associate Professor at University of Barcelona, (


We investigate the mechanisms that enable plants to cope with environmental stress.

Due to their protective effect against stress, we are interested in polyamines and microbe-based biostimulants in our investigations. 

In our fundamental research, we investigate the modulation of polyamine metabolism during stress, polyamine signaling and mechanisms underlying the protective effect of these compounds.

In our applied research, we develop new microbe-based plant biostimulants for crop protection.

Dr. Rubén Alcázar. Principal Investigator. Associate Professor at the University of Barcelona.


Zhang Chi, PhD student. Fellowship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC), China.


Ester Murillo, PhD student. FPI Grant from Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain


Lucía Díaz, PhD student. Fellowship from the Colombian Ministry of Science, Colombia



Alumni (PhD):

Nazanin Arafaty, PhD student APIF-UB (2017/2021)

Dr. Changxin Liu, PhD student from the China Scholarship Council CSC (2016/2020).

Dr. Kostadin E. Atanasov, PhD student FPI (Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain) (2016/19)


Alumni (Master):

Ana Fleitas, Master student (2019/21)

Fernando Yelamo, Master student (2018/19)

Milena Acosta, Master student  (2018/19)

Víctor Rodríguez, Master student (2017/18)

Marta Carrión, Master student (2017/18)

Íñigo Aristizábal, Master student (2016/17)

Fredrik Dölfors, Master student (2016/17)

Ester Murillo, Master student (2015/16)

In memoriam:

Prof. Dr. Antonio F. Tiburcio  (1952-2021). Full professor at the University of Barcelona and disciple of Prof. A.W. Galston at Yale University. Founder of the polyamine's lab in 1985, friend and mentor.


Polyamines are small protonated amines present in all living organisms. Most abundant polyamines are the diamine putrescine, triamine spermidine and tetraamine spermine and its isomer thermospermine. Polyamine accumulation is one of the most conserved metabolic hallmarks during plant stress. Genetic approaches in the recent years have demonstrated a role for polyamines on protection against abiotic stresses, such as salinity, freezing and drought. However, little is known about their contribution and mode of action during plant defense. We investigate the roles of polyamines in plant defense and plant-microbe interactions, and the involvement of oxidative-dependent pathways on such responses. Through a genetic-based approach, we’re studying the biological implications for polyamines during defense. We’re also identifying the genetic components involved in polyamine signaling, transport or perception. We argue that such type of genetic approaches are missing and are required to establish mechanistic processes for plant polyamines. Finally, we’re studying the roles of polyamines in shaping the microbial composition of the plant rhizosphere. Overall, our research provides an integrative view of plant polyamines in the context of plant-pathogen and plant-microbe interactions.

Proyecto BFU2017-87742-R financiado por:


I.P: Rubén Alcázar (2021-2023)

Funding: Proyectos I+D+i para la realización de Prueba de Concepto.

Proyecto PDC2021-121267-I00 financiado por MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 y por la Unión Europea Next  GenerationEU/ PRTR


  • Liu, C., Alcázar, R. (2021) A new insight into the contribution of putrescine to defense in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Signal Behav. 16: 1885187
  • Alcázar R, Bueno M, Tiburcio AF (2020) Polyamines: small amines with large effects on plant abiotic stress tolerance. Cells 9:2373
  • Liu, C., Atanasov, K.E., Arafaty, N., Murillo, E., Tiburcio A.F., Zeier, J., Alcázar, R. (2020) Putrescine elicits ROS – dependent activation of the salicylic acid pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell & Environ. doi: 10.1111/pce.13874
  • Alcázar R, Fortes AM, Tiburcio AF. (2020) Editorial: Polyamines in plant biotechnology, food nutrition and human health. Front Plant Sci. 11:120
  • Liu, C., Atanasov, K.E., Tiburcio, A.F., Alcázar, R. (2019) The polyamine putrescine contributes to H2O2 and RbohD/F -dependent positive feedback loop in Arabidopsis PAMP triggered immunity. Frontiers Plant Sci (10): 894 
  • Atanasov, K. E., Liu, C., Erban, A., Kopka, J., Parker, J. E., Alcázar, R. (2018). NLR mutations suppressing immune hybrid incompatibility and their effects on disease resistance. Plant Physiology, doi: 10.1104/pp.18.00462.
  • Alcázar and Tiburcio Eds. Polyamines. Methods and Protocols. Springer. Book.
  • Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R. Potential Applications of Polyamines in Agriculture and Plant Biotechnology. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1694:489-508. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7398-9_40. Review. PubMed PMID: 29080190.
  • Barboza-Barquero L, Esker P, Alcázar R. Genome-Wide Association Mapping Analyses Applied to Polyamines. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1694:427-432. doi:10.1007/978-1-4939-7398-9_35. PubMed PMID: 29080185.
  • Atanasov KE, Liu C, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R. Generation of EMS-Mutagenized Populations of Arabidopsis thaliana for Polyamine Genetics. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1694:343-346. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7398-9_29. PubMed PMID: 29080179.
  • Bitrián M, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R. Determination of Posttranslational Modifications by 2D PAGE: Applications to Polyamines. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1694:337-341. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7398-9_28. PubMed PMID: 29080178.
  • Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R. Determination of S-Adenosylmethionine Decarboxylase Activity in Plants. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1694:123-128. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7398-9_12. PubMed PMID: 29080162.
  • Alcázar R, Tiburcio AF. Determination of Arginine and Ornithine Decarboxylase Activities in Plants. Methods Mol Biol. 2018;1694:117-122. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7398-9_11. PubMed PMID: 29080161.
  • Lalaleo L, Alcázar R, Palazon J, Moyano E, Cusido RM, Bonfill M. Comparing aryltetralin lignan accumulation patterns in four biotechnological systems of Linum album. J Plant Physiol. 2018 Jun 15;228:197-207. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2018.06.006. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29960916.
  • Lalaleo L, Testillano P, Risueño MC, Cusidó RM, Palazon J, Alcázar R, Bonfill M. Effect of in vitro morphogenesis on the production of podophyllotoxin derivatives in callus cultures of Linum album. J Plant Physiol. 2018 May 18;228:47-58. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2018.05.007. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29852334.
  • Zarza X, Atanasov KE, Marco F, Arbona V, Carrasco P, Kopka J, Fotopoulos V, Munnik T, Gómez-Cadenas A, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R. (2017) Polyamine Oxidase 5 loss-of-function mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana trigger metabolic and transcriptional reprogramming and promote salt stress tolerance. Plant Cell & Environ. 40: 527-542.
  • Sequera-Mutiozabal M, Antoniou C, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R, Fotopoulos V. (2017) Polyamines: Emerging hubs promoting drought and salt stress tolerance in plants. Curr Mol Biol Rep. 1:28-36
  • Treves H, Murik O, Kedem I, Eisenstadt D, Meir S, Rogachev I, Szymanski J, Keren N, Orf I, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R, Aharoni A, Kopka J, Kaplan A. (2017) Metabolic flexibility underpins growth capabilities of the fastest growing alga. Curr. Biol. 27:2559-2567
  • Ariga H, Katori T, Tsuchimatsu T, Hirase T, Tajima Y, Parker JE, Alcázar R, Koornneef M, Hoekenga O, Lipka AE, Gore MA, Sakakibara H, Kojima M, Kobayashi Y, Iuchi S, Kobayashi M, Shinozaki K, Sakata Y, Hayashi T, Saijo Y, Taji T. (2017) NLR locus-mediated trade-off between abiotic and biotic stress adaptation in Arabidopsis. Nature Plants 3:17072
  • Atanasov KE, Barboza-Barquero L, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R (2016) Genome wide association mapping for the tolerance to the polyamine oxidase inhibitor guazatine in Arabidopsis thaliana. Front. Plant Sci.7:40
  • Sequera-Mutiozabal MI, Erban A, Kopka J, Atanasov K, Bastida J, Fotopoulos V, Alcázar R and Tiburcio AF (2016). Global metabolic profiling of Arabidopsis Polyamine Oxidase 4 (AtPAO4) loss-of-function mutants exhibiting delayed dark-induced senescence. Front. Plant Sci. 7:173.
  • Stuttmann J, Peine N, Garcia AV, Wagner C, Choudhury SR, Wang Y, James GV, Griebel T, Alcázar R, Tsuda K, Schneeberger K, Parker JE (2016) Arabidopsis thaliana DM2h (R8) within the Landsberg RPP1-like Resistance locus underlies three different cases of EDS1-conditioned autoimmunity.PLoS Genet.12 :e1005990
  • Marco F, Bitrián M, Carrasco P, Rajam MV, Alcázar R, Tiburcio AF. Genetic Engineering Strategies for Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. In: Plant Biology and Biotechnology Vol.2. Springer 2015. pp:579-610.
  • Alcázar R, von Reth M, Bautor J, Chae E, Weigel D, Koornneef M and Parker JE. (2014) Analysis of a plant complex Resistance gene locus underlying immune-related hybrid incompatibility and its occurrence in nature. PLoS Genet 10(12): e1004848.
  • Alcázar R and Tiburcio AF (2014) Plant polyamines in stress and development: an emerging area of research in plant sciences. Front. Plant Sci. 5:319
  • Tiburcio AF, Altabella T, Bitrián M and Alcázar R. (2014) The Roles of Polyamines during the lifespan of plants:from development to stress. Planta 240:1-18.
  •  Alcazar, R.; Tiburcio, A. F. (2014) Polyamines in stress protection - applications in agriculture in Plant adaptation to environmental change: significance of amino acids and their derivatives Pages: 129-140. CABI; Wallingford; UK. ISBN: 978-1-78064-273-4.
  • Barboza L, Effgen S, Alonso-Blanco C, Kooke R, Keurentjes J, Koornneef M, Alcázar R. (2013) Arabidopsis semi-dwarfs evolved from independent mutations in GA20ox1, orthologue to green revolution dwarf alleles in rice and barley. PNAS 110:15818-23.


  • Alcázar R, Pecinka A, Aarts MG, Fransz PF, Koornneef M. Signals of speciation within Arabidopsis thaliana in comparison with its relatives. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2012 15(2):205-11.
  • Bitrián M, Zarza X, Altabella T, Tiburcio AF, Alcázar R. Polyamines under stress: metabolic crossroads and hormonal crosstalks. Metabolites (new  journal). Metabolites. 2012; 2(3):516-528  
  • Alcázar R, Parker JE. The impact of temperature on balancing immune responsiveness and growth in Arabidopsis. Trends Plant Sci. 2011 Dec;16(12):666-75.
  • Alcázar R, Reymond M, Schmitz G, de Meaux J. Genetic and evolutionary perspectives on the interplay between plant immunity and development. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Aug;14(4):378-84.
  • Marco F, Alcázar R, Tiburcio AF, Carrasco P. Interactions between polyamines and abiotic stress pathway responses unraveled by transcriptome analysis of polyamine overproducers. OMICS. 2011 Nov;15(11):775-81.
  • Alcázar R, Cuevas JC, Planas J, Zarza X, Bortolotti C, Carrasco P, Salinas J, Tiburcio AF, Altabella T. Integration of polyamines in the cold acclimation response. Plant Sci. 2011 Jan;180(1):31-8.
  • Alet AI, Sánchez DH, Ferrando A, Tiburcio AF, Alcazar R, Cuevas JC, Altabella T, Pico FM, Carrasco-Sorli P, Menéndez AB, Ruiz OA. Homeostatic control of polyamine levels under long-term salt stress in Arabidopsis: changes in putrescine content do not alleviate ionic toxicity. Plant Signal Behav. 2011 Feb;6(2):237-42.
  • Alcázar R, Bitrián M, Bartels D, Koncz C, Altabella T, Tiburcio AF. Polyamine metabolic canalization in response to drought stress in Arabidopsis and the resurrection plant Craterostigma plantagineum. Plant Signal Behav. 2011 Feb;6(2):243-50.
  • Alcázar R, García AV, Kronholm I, de Meaux J, Koornneef M, Parker JE, Reymond M. Natural variation at Strubbelig Receptor Kinase 3 drives immune-triggered incompatibilities between Arabidopsis thaliana accessions. Nat Genet. 2010 Dec;42(12):1135-9.
  • Alcázar R, Altabella T, Marco F, Bortolotti C, Reymond M, Koncz C, Carrasco P, Tiburcio AF. Polyamines: molecules with regulatory functions in plant abiotic stress tolerance. Planta. 2010 May;231(6):1237-49.
  • Alcázar R, Planas J, Saxena T, Zarza X, Bortolotti C, Cuevas J, Bitrián M, Tiburcio AF, Altabella T. Putrescine accumulation confers drought tolerance in transgenic Arabidopsis plants over-expressing the homologous Arginine decarboxylase 2 gene. Plant Physiol Biochem. 2010 Jul;48(7):547-52.
  • Cuevas JC, López-Cobollo R, Alcázar R, Zarza X, Koncz C, Altabella T, Salinas J, Tiburcio AF, Ferrando A. Putrescine as a signal to modulate the indispensable ABA increase under cold stress. Plant Signal Behav. 2009 Mar;4(3):219-20.
  • Alcázar R, García AV, Parker JE, Reymond M. Incremental steps toward incompatibility revealed by Arabidopsis epistatic interactions modulating salicylic acid pathway activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Jan 6;106(1):334-9.
  •  Berdasco M, Alcázar R, García-Ortiz MV, Ballestar E, Fernández AF, Roldán-Arjona T, Tiburcio AF, Altabella T, Buisine N, Quesneville H, Baudry A, Lepiniec L, Alaminos M, Rodríguez R, Lloyd A, Colot V, Bender J, Canal MJ, Esteller M, Fraga MF. Promoter DNA hypermethylation and gene repression in undifferentiated Arabidopsis cells. PLoS One. 2008 Oct 1;3(10):e3306.
  • Cuevas JC, López-Cobollo R, Alcázar R, Zarza X, Koncz C, Altabella T, Salinas J, Tiburcio AF, Ferrando A. Putrescine is involved in Arabidopsis freezing tolerance and cold acclimation by regulating abscisic acid levels in response to low temperature. Plant Physiol. 2008 Oct;148(2):1094-105.
  • Alcázar R, Marco F, Cuevas JC, Patron M, Ferrando A, Carrasco P, Tiburcio AF, Altabella T. Involvement of polyamines in plant response to abiotic stress. Biotechnol Lett. 2006 Dec;28(23):1867-76.
  • Alcázar R, García-Martínez JL, Cuevas JC, Tiburcio AF, Altabella T. Overexpression of ADC2 in Arabidopsis induces dwarfism and late-flowering through GA deficiency. Plant J. 2005 Aug;43(3):425-36.
  • Bortolotti C, Cordeiro A, Alcázar R, Borrell A, Culiañez-Macià FA, Tiburcio AF, Altabella T. Localization of arginine decarboxylase in tobacco plants. Physiol Plant. 2004 Jan;120(1):84-92.
  • Panicot M, Minguet EG, Ferrando A, Alcázar R, Blázquez MA, Carbonell J, Altabella T, Koncz C, Tiburcio AF. A polyamine metabolon involving aminopropyl transferase complexes in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 2002 Oct;14(10):2539-51.


Master positions (Trabajo Final de Máster)

Every year, we offer one Master position for the 'Trabajo Final de Máster'  TFM (Final Master Work)  in frame of the Program of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Barcelona.

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Alcázar to seek for possibilities to develop the TFM in our lab.

Academic year 2021-22. Position Filled.

Academic year 2022-23. To be opened.


Maria Zambrano postdoc position available in the lab. Duration: 2 years. Topic: Polyamines and plant defense. Requirements: A minimum of two years of postdoctoral experience abroad.  International experience in molecular biology and genetics applied to plant sciences. At least one 1st author article in a major international journal.

Contact information:
Deadline: 31 July, 2021

Status: CLOSED



Postdoctoral positions

Applications are invited for Marie Curie, Beatriu de Pinós, EMBO, Juan de la Cierva, Ramón y Cajal and other national / international postdoctoral programs.

Requirements: International experience in molecular biology and genetics applied to plant sciences. At least one 1st author article in a major international journal.

Contact information:


PhD positions:

Every year we support one application for different PhD public calls available (FPU, FI, etc). The calendar and requirements depend on each call. The selection is based on academic merits.

Applicant's profile. The candidate should hold a Bachelor degree (minimum of 240 credits; Qualification >8.0 over 10) and have finished the master in biology, biotechnology or plant sciences. Candidates for the FPU call should also hold a residence permit in Spain (NIE).

Application procedure.

Interested candidates should send their CV and letter of interest to Dr. Rubén Alcázar ( Deadline according to the calls. 

Master positions (Trabajo Final de Máster)

Every year, we offer one Master position for the 'Trabajo Final de Máster'  TFM (Final Master Work)  in frame of the Program of Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Barcelona.

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Alcázar to seek for possibilities to develop the TFM in our lab.



Research in the Polyamine's Lab is supported by: