Dr Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso

Lecturer in Plant Sciences
School of Biology

Contact: Miall 9.18, +44(0) 113 34 32811, email address for  

You can read more about Dr Benitez-Alfonso's interests here:

Research Interests

Symplastic communication in root development

In plants, cell-to-cell channels (called Plasmodesmata; PD) connect the cytoplasm of neighboring cells, forming the symplasm. These cytoplasmic bridges underpin the molecular communication required for coordinated development and growth, and for responses to the environment. PD are also the gateways for the vascular network that allows systemic transport of nutrient and metabolites around the plant.

Research in our lab aims to establish the importance of plasmodesmata transport in post-embryonic development and to reveal regulatory mechanisms controlling this form of intercellular communication.

Specifically, we study how symplastic communication influences root development in the model plants Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago truncatula. Root post-embryonic development is characterized by the maintenance of the apical meristem and the continuous formation of new organs (such as lateral roots and nodules). Without a proper root system, plant uptake, fixation and transport of water, minerals and nutrients from the soil will be compromised. Therefore research aiming to optimize root architecture will directly impact on plant development, performance, productivity and adaptation to adverse environments. This is the ultimate goal of our research projects.


Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

See also:

Modules managed

BIOL5152M - Topics in Plant Science
BLGY1005 - Tutorials (Joint Honours)
BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists

Modules taught

BIOL5152M - Topics in Plant Science
BIOL5372M - Advanced Biomolecular Technologies
BLGY1128 - Living Planet
BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY1303/04 - Level 1 Tutorials
BLGY1303/04/1005 - Level 1 Tutorials
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists
BLGY2100/2301 - Level 2 Tutorials
BLGY2313/5156M - Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
BLGY3291 - Comparative Genomics
BLGY3345 - Biology Integrated Research Projects

Dr Sam Amsbury  (Research Fellow in Cell wall Biology )


Philip Kirk (Primary supervisor) 90% FTE
Ryan Kaye (Co-supervisor) 10% FTE

Benitez-Alfonso Y, Faulkner C, Pendle A, Miyashima S, Helariutta Y, Maule A Symplastic Intercellular Connectivity Regulates Lateral Root Patterning Developmental Cell 26 136-147, 2013
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Faulkner C, Petutschnig E, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Beck M, Robatzek S, Lipka V, Maule AJ LYM2-dependent chitin perception limits molecular flux via plasmodesmata. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110 9166-9170, 2013
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Fernandez-Calvino L, Faulkner C, Walshaw J, Saalbach G, Bayer E, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Maule A Arabidopsis plasmodesmal proteome. PLoS One 6 e18880-, 2011
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Benitez-Alfonso Y, Cilia M, San Roman A, Thomas C, Maule A, Hearn S, Jackson D Control of Arabidopsis meristem development by thioredoxin-dependent regulation of intercellular transport. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106 3615-3620, 2009
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Amsbury S, Kirk P, Benitez-Alfonso Y Emerging models on the regulation of intercellular transport by plasmodesmata-associated callose Journal of Experimental Botany 69 105-115, 2018
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Pompa A, De Marchis F, Pallotta MT, Benitez Alfonso Y, Jones A, Schipper K, Moreau K,Žárský V, Di Sansebastiano GP, Bellucci M Unconventional Transport Routes of Soluble and Membrane Proteins and Their Role in Developmental Biology. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 18, 2017
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Baker RF, Leach KA, Boyer NR, Swyers MJ, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Skopelitis T, Luo A, Sylvester A, Jackson D, Braun DM Sucrose transporter ZmSut1 expression and localization uncover new insights into sucrose phloem loading Plant Physiology 172 1876-1898, 2016
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Otero S, Helariutta Y, Benitez-Alfonso Y Symplastic communication in organ formation and tissue patterning Current Opinion in Plant Biology 29 21-28, 2016
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Grison MS, Brocard L, Fouillen L, Nicolas W, Wewer V, Dörmann P, Nacir H, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Claverol S, Germain V, Boutté Y, Mongrand S, Bayer EM Specific membrane lipid composition is important for plasmodesmata function in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 27 1228-1250, 2015
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Pendle A, Benitez-Alfonso Y Immunofluorescence Detection of Callose Deposition Around Plasmodesmata sites Methods in Molecular Biology 1217 95-104, 2015
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Knox JP, Benitez-Alfonso Y Roles and regulation of plant cell walls surrounding plasmodesmata Current Opinion in Plant Biology 22 93-100, 2014
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Benitez-Alfonso Y Symplastic intercellular transport from a developmental perspective. J Exp Bot 65 1857-1863, 2014
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Gaudioso-Pedraza R, Benitez-Alfonso Y A phylogenetic approach to study the origin and evolution of plasmodesmata-localized glycosyl hydrolases family 17. Frontiers in Plant Science 5 212-212, 2014
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J Maule A, Gaudioso-Pedraza R, Benitez-Alfonso Y Callose deposition and symplastic connectivity are regulated prior to lateral root emergence. Communicative and Integrative Biology 6, 2013
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Maule A, Faulkner C, Benitez-Alfonso Y Plasmodesmata "in Communicado". Front Plant Sci 3 30-, 2012
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Maule AJ, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Faulkner C Plasmodesmata - membrane tunnels with attitude. Curr Opin Plant Biol 14 683-690, 2011
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Benitez-Alfonso Y, Jackson D, Maule A Redox regulation of intercellular transport. Protoplasma 248 131-140, 2011
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Benitez-Alfonso Y, Faulkner C, Ritzenthaler C, Maule AJ Plasmodesmata: gateways to local and systemic virus infection. Mol Plant Microbe Interact 23 1403-1412, 2010
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Benitez-Alfonso Y, Jackson D Redox homeostasis regulates plasmodesmal communication in Arabidopsis meristems. Plant Signal Behav 4 655-659, 2009
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Benitez Y, Botella MA, Trapero A, Alsalimiya M, Caballero JL, Dorado G, Munoz-Blanco J Molecular analysis of the interaction between Olea europaea and the biotrophic fungus Spilocaea oleagina MOLECULAR PLANT PATHOLOGY 6 425-438, 2005

Benitez Y, Botella MA, Trapero A, Alsalimiya M, Caballero JL, Dorado G, Muñoz-Blanco J Molecular analysis of the interaction between Olea europaea and the biotrophic fungus Spilocaea oleagina. Mol Plant Pathol 6 425-438, 2005
View abstract