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Research Teams and Lines

Investigation Group

In our group we are interested in the study of  microorganism - host interaction from the perspective of proteomics. We have a particular focus on the opportunistic pathogenic fungus Candida and candidiasis. We aim to improve our knowledge on the molecular mechanisms of the host innate and acquired immune responses and also the pathogen processes of infection and virulence. Among our objectives we try to search novel biomarker and vaccine candidates for invasive candidiasis. But also, from the angle of the host, we are interested in the activation of signaling pathways in innate immune cells interacting with Candida cells.

We use Discovery Proteomics, based on shotgun strategies, to acquire an overview of the proteome Candida cells upon interaction with its host. Then focusing on a selected set of proteins of interest, we use Targeted Proteomics, based on Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM), which enables validation and quantitation for the target set with very high reproducibility and sensitivity. The combined use of both discovery and targeted approaches is therefore very useful to address this host-pathogen interaction model from the perspective of (clinical) proteomics.

We have a great interest in the study of particular proteomes with great potential clinical applications. In this respect we study the phosphoproteomic profiles of immune activation in innate immune cells; the surfome, i.e. the set of proteins present in the fungal surface which first contact cells of the host immune system; proteins present in secreted vesicles, and the set of proteins involved in apoptosis, since those would make an ideal target to selectively trigger this process.

We are also involved in the Human Proteome Project (HPP) where Spain is responsible for developing SRM methods to detect proteins encoded in chromosme 16 (chromosome-centric HPP, or C-HPP) and try, at the same time, to integrate the acquired methodology with the biology/disease branch of the HPP, (B/D-HPP) by focusing towards the proteins involved in the defense against candidiasis and mycoses in general .