Plants are exceptional biochemists. They have the ability produce innumerous compounds to defend and protect themselves against biotic (microbes, insects, nematodes) and abiotic (drought, heat, salinity, cold, flood) stresses. The polyacetylenic natural products falcarinol and falcarindiol (or falcarins) are two such compounds. Falcarins are lipid-derived molecules that typically contain two triple bonds. They are well known to accumulate in Apiaceous plant species such as carrot. Falcarins have established anticancer properties as well as antimicrobial activities against human and plant pathogens. However, the precise role of falcarins in plant defense against pathogens remains unclear.
The Santos lab works on molecular plant-microbe interactions. A major focus of the Santos lab is to comprehend how falcarins function in plant resistance to necrotrophic fungi. We employ an integrative approach using tools such as transcriptomics, metabolomics, and cell imaging to unveil the precise role of falcarins in plant defense. The overarching goal of our work is to provide a comprehensive understanding of fundamental aspects of falcarin function in planta and provide resources improving crop resilience to devastating pathogens.