Dr. Juan Camilo Moreno Beltran

Guest Scientist
Cooperative Research Groups
Small-Molecule Signalling

Main Focus

Our "small molecules" group is focus in the study of molecules with signal properties. To do so, we have been developing/adapting new techniques (e.g. Drug Affinity Responsive Target Stability (DARTS) and Thermal Proteome Profiling (TPP), size exclusion chromatography (SEC), among others) to study protein-metabolite interactions in plants. Our model of study is Arabidopsis thaliana, and we work specifically with cell cultures which allow us to speed up the generation of results as well as data analysis.

Currently, I am interested in two different topics. These topics have in common the tools I am going to use to answer the main question of both topics. The first topic is related with dipeptides and I would like to address the question: Are dipeptides more than residues from protein cleavage?. Dipeptides have been reported as a molecules with signal properties in animals and that is why I would like to study different classes of dipeptides and try to find a function in molecular signaling or any other process in plants. To accomplish this, different approaches such as, size exclusion chromatography, affinity purification and proteomic analysis will be used. Finally, we hope to be able to integrate the results obtained with the different approaches mentioned above and find new functions for dipeptides in plants.

My other point of interest is focused on the Carotenoid pathway and the newly reported function of these compounds as a signal molecules. To study this I have created transgenic plants that over-express a key enzyme of the carotenoid pathway. In this plants, not only carotenoid levels were increased, but also chlorophyll levels, gibberellins (GA) levels and other compounds that allowed the bigger size observed in this lines. My goal is to study/identify the signal(s) that allows the potentiation of three different pathways inside the chloroplast (GA, carotenoids and chlorophylls) and how the better fitness of these lines could be explained at molecular and physiological level.  

Curriculum Vitae

Work and Research experience

04.08.2016 – now    Postdoctoral researcher at Prof. Dr. Lothar Willmitzer group in the “Plant physiology” department at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology Golm/Potsdam, Germany.

02.10.2012 – 29.07.2016  PhD student at Prof. Dr. Ralph Bock group in the “Organelle Biology and Biotechnology” department at the Max-Planck-Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm/Potsdam, Germany. PhD thesis: “Characterization of the Clp protease complex and identification of putative substrates in N. tabacum”.

24.03.2010 – 23.03.2012    Master student at Dr. Claudia Stange Klein group at the Center of Molecular Plant Biology, Santiago, Chile. Master thesis: “Characterization of Daucus carota lycopene β-cyclase gene (lcyb1) by over-expression in the plant models N. tabacum and D. carota”.

03.03.2009 – 23.03.2010   Undergraduate thesis at Dr. Claudia Stange Klein group at the Center of Molecular Plant Biology, Santiago, Chile. Undergraduate thesis: “Evaluation of the Functionality of Carrot Lycopene b-cyclase Genes by Means of Heterologous Complementation in E. coli”.

03.01.2008 – 26.02.2009     Undergraduate research project at Dr. Claudia Stange Klein group at the Center of Molecular Plant Biology, Santiago, Chile. Undergraduate research project: “Development of Molecular Tools for the Over-expression of lcyb Gene in Fruits”.

04.03.2005 – 29.06.2005     Undergraduate research project at Dr. Patricio Moreno Moncada group at the “Biology” department, Santiago, Chile. Undergraduate research project: “Pollen Analysis Through Microscopic Techniques”.

Publication list:

  1. Monika Kosmacz, Michał Gorka, Stephan Schmidt, Marcin Luzarowski, Juan C. Moreno, Jagoda Szlachetko, Ewa Leniak, Ewelina M. Sokolowska, Kostika Sofroni, Arp Schnittger, Aleksandra Skirycz (2019). “Protein and metabolite composition of Arabidopsis stress granules”. New Phytologist doi: 10.1111/nph.15690.
  2. Juan C. Moreno (2018).  “The proteOMIC era: a useful tool to gain deeper insights into plastid physiology”. Theor. Exp. Plant Physiol. (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40626-018-0133-2.
  3. Daniel Veyel*, Ewelina Maria Sokolowska*, Juan C. Moreno*, Sylwia Kierszniowska, Justyna Cichon, Izabela Wojciechowska, Marcin Luzarowski, Monika Kosmacz, Jagoda Szlachetko, Michaël Méret, Alexander Graf, Etienne H. Meyer, Lothar  Willmitzer and Aleksandra Skirycz (2018). PROMIS, global analysis of PROtein-Metabolite Interactions using Size separation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Biological Chemistry 293 (32): 12440-12453.
  4. Kosmacz M., Luzarowski M., Kerber O., Leniak E., Gutiérrez-Beltrán E., Juan C. Moreno, Gorka M., Szlachetko J., Nedekow R., Veyel D., Graf A., Aleksandra Skirycz (2018). “2’,3’-cAMP binds to the Arabidopsis RNA binding Rbp47b protein and facilitates stress granule formation”. Plant Physiology 177: 411-421. 
  5. Juan C. Moreno, Silvia Martínez-Jaime, Joram Schwartzmann, Daniel Karcher, Michael Tillich, Alexander Graf, and Ralph Bock (2018). “Temporal Proteomics of Inducible RNAi Lines of Clp Protease Subunits Identifies Putative Protease Substrates”. Plant Physiology 176: 1485-1508.
  6. Juan C. Moreno, Nadine Tiller, Mercedes Diez, Daniel Karcher, Mark A. Schoettler and Ralph Bock (2017). “Functional characterization of Clp and Ftsh proteases: two essential proteases for plant growth and development in tobacco”. Journal of Experimental Botany 68 (9): 2199-2218.
  7. Juan C. Moreno & Claudia Stange Klein (2016). Apocarotenoids: A new carotenoid-derived pathway. Book chapter in Carotenoids in nature, Subcell Biochem 79:239-72. 
  8. Juan C. Moreno, Cerda A., Simpson K., Lopez-Diaz I., Carrera E., Handford, M., and Stange, C. (2016). “Increased Nicotiana tabacum fitness through positive regulation of carotenoid, gibberellin and chlorophyll pathways promoted by Daucus carota lycopene β-cyclase (Dclcyb1) expression”. Journal of Experimental Botany (2016) 67 (8): 2325-2338. 
  9. Juan C. Moreno, Pizarro L, Fuentes P, Handford M, Cifuentes V and Stange C. (2013). “Levels of Lycopene β-Cyclase 1 Modulate Carotenoid Gene Expression and Accumulation in Daucus carota”. PLoS ONE 8(3): e58144.
  10. Fuentes P., Pizarro L., Juan C. Moreno, Handford M., Rodriguez-Concepción M., and Stange C. (2012). “Light-dependent changes in plastid differentiation influence carotenoid gene expression and accumulation in carrot roots”. Plant Molecular Biology 79 (1-2): 47-59.

*: Equal contribution/shared first author. 

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