Nazanin Arafaty's PhD defense will be held on April  30 at 15:30 h (Online & restricted number of seats at Aula Magna, Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences, UB).
Biostimulants project supported by the Fundació Bosch i Gimpera and FEDER (2021)

Contact information: Dr. Rubén Alcázar (
Our commitment

In the Memory of 

Prof. Antonio Fernández Tiburcio (Dec 1952 - April 2021)


Dear visitor,

We're pleased to welcome you to the Polyamines Lab at the University of Barcelona.


We investigate the mechanisms that enable plants to cope with a variety of environmental stresses in the context of climate change.

Due to their protective effect against stress, we are interested in plant polyamines in our investigations. 

Our team investigates the modulation of polyamine metabolism during stress, its effects on stress signaling and mechanistic processes underlying the protective effect of these compounds. We do so from a 'multiomics' perspective.


Our commitment with science and the society 

is to generate knowledge for crop protection against climate change.


If you wish to know more about us, please have a look at our different webpage sections or contact us directly.

What are polyamines?

They are nitrogenated compounds present in all living organisms. The most frequent polyamines are the diamine putrescine, triamine spermidine and tetraamines spermine and its structural isomer thermospermine.

Why are polyamines relevant?

Polyamines are important for two main reasons: they are essential for life and they are essential for stress tolerance. Their absence limits the capacity of organisms to reproduce and survive.

Why do we study polyamines?

Because they have been shown to protect from stress and we're interested in developing stress resistant cultivars. Our lab has long term experience in the field of plant polyamines. We're implementing cutting edge technologies  to gain deeper insight into their mechanisms of action from a molecular perspective.

How our research feeds back to the society?

Our lab has developed new strategies that protect plants against drought and freezing temperatures which are nowadays being tested in real conditions before getting into the market. This will limit the deleterious effects from climate change on the food industry.

Project (2018-2021): Polyamines in plant defense and plant-microbe interactions.

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.

Funding: Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad. Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad.


Dr. Rubén Alcázar - Principal Investigator

Nazanin Arafaty, PhD student APIF-UB

Zhang Chi, PhD student CSC

Ester Murillo, PhD student FPI

Ana Fleitas García, PhD student


Alumni (PhD):

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 (2019/20)

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)



  • 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
  • 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.


Sorry, no positions available at this time.



Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Sciences

Department of Biology, Healthcare & Environment

Section of Plant Physiology, University of Barcelona

Avda Joan XXIII, 27-31

08028 Barcelona, Spain


Join our Team!

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. Contact information:


PhD positions

We're permanently recruiting candidates (m/f/d) for theFPU and FI calls to perform their PhD with us.

We offer training in plant molecular biology and genomics in a highly motivating environment. Our lab is located in Barcelona city at the Diagonal campus, one of the clusters of excellence.

Applicant's profile. Candidates should hold a Bachelor degree (minimum of 240 credits) and have finished the master in the areas of biology, biotechnology, agronomy, genetics, chemistry or similar and have demonstrated academic merits (Bachelor degree score must be over 8.0 (in a 10 scale) to be eligible. Candidates for 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. 




Aiming at promoting plant growth, stress tolerance and crop protection against climate change, our lab investigates the development of new microbe and polyamine - based biostimulant products.

Funding: Fundació Bosch i Gimpera. Universitat de Barcelona. Fons Impuls Innovació (F2I). Year: 2021