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Roberto Gaxiola

Roberto Gaxiola
Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Roberto.Gaxiola@asu.edu
480-965-3337

School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874501
Tempe, AZ 85287-4501

Dr. Gaxiola is an associate professor in the Cellular and Molecular Biosciences Faculty, School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University since 2007. Prior to coming to ASU he was an assistant professor in the Plant Molecular Genetics Department of Plant Science at the University of Connecticut from 2000-2007. He was also a visiting scientist at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT and also an associated researcher C in the Plant Molecular Biology Department at the Instituto de Biotecnologia, UNAM Cuernavaca Morelos, Mexico.

Dr. Gaxiola has focused his academic career on learning how plants deal with salinity, water and nutritional stresses with the goal of utilizing this knowledge to improve production agriculture. His approach has been based on understanding basic processes using an array of model systems (bacteria, yeast, Arabidopsis) to unravel the mechanisms that allow plants to overcome the above stresses.

Plant scientists face the difficult challenge of increasing food production without damaging the environment.Such pressures are now compounded by the goal of utilizing agriculture to provide replacement fuels such as bio-diesel and alcohol for our oil-based economy.

Enhanced root mass is expected to increase crop biomass, making the root system an extremely attractive candidate for engineering crops for enhanced productivity. We have recently shown that AVP1, a type I H+-PPase, plays a key role in root development in Arabidopsis. Changes in the expression of AVP1 affected the abundance and activity of the plasma membrane H+-ATPase that correlate with apoplastic (cell wall space) pH alterations and auxin (a plant growth hormone) transport efficiencies. High level-expression of Arabidopsis AVP1 leads to increased root biomass in both dicots (tomato) and monocots (rice), making it an ideal target to engineer increased root biomass in a variety of agriculturally important crops. These modified plants also exhibit increased shoot system biomass, enhanced mineral nutrition and stress resistance, i.e., drought and salinity.

Our research is currently focusing in both, learning more about the function and regulation of these H+-PPases in plants and translating these observations into a variety agriculturally important crops.

PhD, Molecular Biology, Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, 1991

MS, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Centro de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados, 1987

BS, Biochemical Engineering, Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1982

Journal Articles

2013

Paez-Valencia, J., J. Sanchez-Lares, E. Marsh, L. T. Dorneles, M. P. Santos, D. Sanchez, A. Winter, S. Murphy, J. Cox, M. Trzaska, J. Metler, A. Kozic, A. R. Facanha, D. Schachtman, C. A. Sanchez and R. A. Gaxiola. 2013. Enhanced proton translocating pyrophosphatase activity improved nitrogen use efficiency in Romaine lettuce. Plant Physiology 161(3):1557-1569. DOI: 10.1104/pp.112.212852. (link )

2012

Gaxiola, R. A., C. A. Sanchez, J. Paez-Valencia, B. G. Ayre and J. J. Elser. 2012. Genetic manipulation of a "vacuolar" H+-PPase: From salt tolerance to yield enhancement under phosphorus-deficient soils. Plant Physiology 159(1):3-11. DOI: 10.1104/pp.112.195701. (link )

Undurraga, S. F., M. P. Santos, J. Paez-Valencia, H. Yang, P. K. Hepler, A. R. Facanha, K. D. Hirschi and R. A. Gaxiola. 2012. Arabidopsis sodium dependent and independent phenotypes triggered by H+-Ppase up-regulation are SOS1 dependent. Plant Science 193:96-105. DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.11.011. (link )

2011

Gaxiola, R. A., M. Edwards and J. J. Elser. 2011. A transgenic approach to enhance phosphorus use efficiency in crops as part of a comprehensive strategy for sustainable agriculture. Chemosphere 84(6):840-845. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2011.01.062. (link )

Paez-Valencia, J., A. Patron-Soberano, A. Rodriguez-Leviz, J. Sanchez-Lares, C. Sanchez-Gomez, P. Valencia-Mayoral, G. Diaz-Rosas and R. A. Gaxiola. 2011. Plasma membrane localization of the type I H+-PPase AVP1 in sieve element-companion cell complexes from Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Science 181(1):23. DOI: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.03.008. (link )

Pasapula, V., G. Shen, S. Kuppu, J. Paez-Valencia, M. Mendoza, P. Hou, J. Chen, X. Qiu, L. Zhu, Z. Zhang, D. Auld, E. Blumwald, H. Zhang, R. A. Gaxiola and P. Payton. 2011. Expression of an Arabidopsis vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase gene (AVP1) in cotton improves drought- and salt tolerance and increases fibre yield in the field conditions. Plant Biotechnology Journal 9(1):88-99. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2010.00535.x. (link )

Zhang, H., G. Shen, S. Kuppu, R. A. Gaxiola and P. Payton. 2011. Creating drought and salt-tolerant cotton by overexpressing a vacuolar pyrophosphatase gene. Plant Signaling and Behavior 6(6):861-863. DOI: 10.4161/psb.6.6.15223. (link )

2007

Gaxiola, R. A., M. G. Palmgren and K. Schumacher. 2007. Plant proton pumps. FEBS Letters 581(12):2204-2214. DOI: 10.1016/j.febslet.2007.03.050. (link )

Yang, H., J. Knapp, P. Koirala, D. Rajagopal, W. Peer, L. K. Silbart, A. Murphy and R. A. Gaxiola. 2007. Enhanced phosphorus nutrition in monocots and dicots over-expressing a phosphorus-responsive type 1 H+-pyrophosphatase. Plant Biotechnology Journal 5(6):735-745. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7652.2007.00281.x. (link )

2005

Brini, F., R. A. Gaxiola, G. A. Berkowitz and K. Masmoudi. 2005. Cloning and characterization of a wheat vacuolar catio/proton antiporter and pyrophosphatase proton pump. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 43(4):347-354. DOI: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2005.02.010. (link )

Li, J., H. Yang, W. Peer, G. Richter, J. Blakeslee, A. Bandyopadhyay, B. Titapiwantakun, S. F. Undurraga, M. Khodakovskaya, E. L. Richards, B. Krizek, A. S. Murphy, S. Gilroy and R. A. Gaxiola. 2005. Arabidopsis H+-Ppase AVP1 regulates auxin-mediated organ development. Science 310(5745):121-125. DOI: 10.1126/science.1115711. (link )

Park, S., J. Li, J. K. Pittman, G. A. Berkowitz, H. Yang, S. F. Undurraga, J. Morris, K. D. Hirschi and R. A. Gaxiola. 2005. Up-regulation of a H+-pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase) as a strategy to engineer drought-resistant crop plants. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 102(52):18830-18835. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0509512102. (link )

2004

Mercier, R. W., N. M. Rabinowitz, R. Ali, R. A. Gaxiola and G. A. Berkowitz. 2004. Yeast hygromycin sensitivity as a functionalk assay of cyclic nucleotide gated cation channels. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 42(6):539-636. DOI: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2004.04.007. (link )

2003

Serrano, R., R. A. Gaxiola, G. Rios, J. Forment, O. Vicente and R. Rios. 2003. Salt stress proteins identified by a functional approach in yeast. Monafshefte fur Chemie/Chemical Monthly 134(11):1445-1464. DOI: 10.1007/s00706-002-0606-4. (link )

Serrano, R., C. Montesinos, R. A. Gaxiola, G. Rios, J. Foment, M. Leube, J. M. Mulet, M. A. Naranjo, M. Roldan, O. Vicente, R. A. Kanhonou, A. Rausell and R. Ros. 2003. Functional genomics of salt tolerance: The yeast overexpression approach. Acta Horticulturae (ISHS) 609:31-38. (link )

2002

Gaxiola, R. A., G. R. Fink and K. D. Hirschi. 2002. Genetic manipulation of vacuolar proton pumps and transporters. Plant Physiology 129(3):967-973. DOI: 10.1104/pp.020009. (link )

2001

Diener, A. C., R. A. Gaxiola and G. R. Fink. 2001. Arabidopsis ALF5, a multidrug efflux transporter gene family member, confers resistance to toxins. The Plant Cell 13(7):1625-1638. DOI: 10.1105/TPC.010035. (link )

Gaxiola, R. A., J. Li, S. F. Undurraga, L. M. Dang, G. J. Allen, S. L. Alper and G. R. Fink. 2001. Drought- and salt-tolerant plants result from overexpression of the AVP1 H+-pump. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 98(20):11444-11449. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.191389398. (link )

1999

Gaxiola, R. A., R. Rao, A. Sherman, P. Grisafi, S. L. Alper and G. R. Fink. 1999. The Arabidopsis thaliana proton transporters, AtNhx1 and AVP1, can function in cation detoxification in yeast. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 96(4):1480-1485. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.4.1480. (link )

Zentella, R., J. O. Mascorro-Gallardo, P. Van Dijck, J. Folch-Mallol, B. Bonini, C. Van Vaeck, R. A. Gaxiola, A. A. Covarrubias, J. Nieto-Sotelo, J. M. Thevelein and G. Iturriaga. 1999. A Selaginella lepidophylla trehalose-6-phosphate synthase complements growth and stress-tolerance defects in a yeasttps1 mutant. Plant Physiology 119(4):1473-1482. DOI: 10.1104/pp.119.4.1473. (link )

1998

Gaxiola, R. A., M. Corona and S. Zinker. 1998. A halotolerant mutant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Journal of Bacteriology 178(10):2978-2981. (link )

Gaxiola, R. A., D. S. Yuan, R. D. Klausner and G. R. Fink. 1998. The yeast CLC chloride channel functions in cation homeostasis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) 95(7):4046-4050. (link )

Luschnig, C., R. A. Gaxiola, P. Grisafi and G. R. Fink. 1998. EIR1, a root-specific protein involved in auxin transport, is required for gravitropism in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genes and Development 12(14):2175-2187. DOI: 10.1101/gad.12.14.2175. (link )

1996

Mascorro-Gallardo, J. O., A. A. Covarrubias and R. A. Gaxiola. 1996. Construction of a CUP1 promoter-based vector to modulate gene expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Gene 172(1):169-170. DOI: 10.1016/0378-1119(96)00059-5. (link )

1994

Serrano, R. and R. A. Gaxiola. 1994. Microbial models and salt stress tolerance in plants. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 13(2):121-138. DOI: 10.1080/07352689409701911. (link )

1993

Glaser, H. U., W. Thomas, R. A. Gaxiola, F. Montrichard, Y. Surdin-Kerjan and R. Serrano. 1993. Salt tolerance and methionine biosynthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae involve a putative phosphatase gene. The Embo Journal 12(8):3105-3110. (link )

1992

Gaxiola, R. A., F. de Larrinoa, J. M. Villalba and R. Serrano. 1992. A novel and conserved salt-induced protein is an important determinant of salt tolerance in yeast. The Embo Journal 11(9):3157-3164. (link )

Book Chapters

2013

Smith, V. H., C. W. Forsberg, R. A. Gaxiola, T. W. Crawford, Jr, A. R. Sharpley, L. Schreeg and B. Chaffin. 2013. Sustainable P in agriculture: Food fuel: P is for productivity. Pp. 64-85 In: Wyant, K. A., J. Corman and J. J. Elser eds., Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future. Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0-19-991683-2.

2011

Fuglsang, A. T., J. Paez-Valencia and R. A. Gaxiola. 2011. Plant proton pumps: Regulatory circuits involving H+-ATPase and H+-Ppase. Pp. 39-64 Transporters and Pumps in Plant Signaling: Signaling and Communication in Plants. Vol 7. Springer-Verlag. Heidelberg.

Posters

2012

Khadikar, A., B. G. Ayre and R. A. Gaxiola. 2012. Proton-pumping pyrophosphatase AVP1 functions in the phloem to regulate rates of transport. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2012, 22-24 July 2012, Austin, TX. (link )

Paez-Valencia, J., A. Patron-Soberano, C. Sanchez-Gomez, J. Sanchez-Lares, T. Furstenau, M. Hilton, P. Valencia-Mayoral, B. G. Ayre, K. D. Hirschi and R. A. Gaxiola. 2012. H+-PPase AVP1 is necessary for phloem development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2012, 22-24 July 2012, Austin, TX. (link )

2011

Paez-Valencia, J., A. Patron-Soberano, C. Sanchez-Gomez, J. Sanchez-Lares, C. Polanowski, P. Valencia-Mayoral and R. A. Gaxiola. 2011. H+-PPase AVP1 is involved in vascular differentiation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2011, 6-10 August 2011, Minneapolis, MN. (link )

2010

Paez-Valencia, J., J. Sanchez, J. Park, S. Park, K. D. Hirschi, B. G. Ayre and R. A. Gaxiola. 2010. Evaluating the improved plant biomass caused by enhanced type I proton-pumping pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase) activity. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2010 Joint Annual Meetings of the American Society of Plant Biologists and the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists - La Société Canadienne de Physiologie Végétale, 31 July-4 August, 2010, Montreal, Canada. (link )

2009

Paez-Valencia, J., D. Rajagopal and R. A. Gaxiola. 2009. Manipulation of proton gradients and their effects in plant nutrition and biomass formation. Poster presented at the XVI International Plant Nutrition Colloquium: Plant Nutrition for Sustainable Development and Global Health, 26-30 August 2009, Sacramento, CA. (link )

Paez-Valencia, J., J. Sanchez, M. Mendoza, A. Winter and R. A. Gaxiola. 2009. Transgenic plants overexpressing H+-PPases: A new strategy to improve plant biomass, mineral nutrition,a nd abiotic stress tolerance. Poster presented at the XII Meeting of the Brazilian Society of Plant Physiology, 7-12 September 2009, Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil.

Zhang, H., G. Shen, V. Pasapula, S. Kuppu, H. Qin, L. Zhu, X. Qiu, P. Hou, J. Chen, X. Zhao, M. Banjara, Y. Zhu, R. Hu, R. A. Gaxiola, E. Blumwald and P. Payton. 2009. Improving drought tolerance in crops. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2009: Joint Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists and the Phydological Society of America, 18-22 July 2009, Honolulu, HI. (link )

2006

Pasapula, V., J. Yan, C. He, E. Blumwald, R. A. Gaxiola and H. Zhang. 2006. Expression of an Arabidopsis vaculoar sodium/proton antiporter gene (AtNHX1) and an Adrabidopsis vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase gene (AVP1) in cotton to increase tolerance to drought and salt stresses. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2006, 5-9 August 2006, Boston, MA. (link )

Undurraga, S. F. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2006. Simultaneous overexpression of the vacuolar transporters AVP1 and AtNHX1 improves parental salt tolerance. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2006, 5-9 August 2006, Boston, MA. (link )

Yang, H., J. Knapp, A. Murphy and R. A. Gaxiola. 2006. The type I H+-PPase AVP1 functions at the intersection of auxin signaling and Pi sensing to mediate root architecture plasticity. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2006, 5-9 August 2006, Boston, MA. (link )

Zhang, H., C. He, D. Auld, E. Blumwald and R. A. Gaxiola. 2006. Engineering cotton for higher drought- and salt-tolerance. Poster presented at the Strategies for Success: 2006 Beltwide Cotton Conference, 4-6 January 2006, San Antonio, TX.

2005

Li, J., H. Yang, L. Lopez, G. Richter, J. Blakeslee, A. Bandyopadhyay, W. Peer, B. Titapiwantakun, S. F. Undurraga, A. Murphy, S. Gilroy and R. A. Gaxiola. 2005. The H+-PPase AVP1 is requred for organ development in Adrabidopsis. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2005, 16-20 July 2005, Seattle, WA. (link )

Yang, H., J. Knapp and R. A. Gaxiola. 2005. Overexpression of the vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase AVP1 enhances phosphorus uptake in Arabidopsis thaliana. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2005, 16-20 July 2005, Seattle, WA. (link )

2004

Undurraga, S. F. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2004. Interaction between sos1 mutation and AVP1 overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana: Evidence for an epistatic effect and a role in potassium nutrition. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2004, 24-28 July 2004, Lake Buena Vista, FL. (link )

2003

Berkowitz, G. A. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2003. Development of a novel high-throughput assay to identify and characterize inwardly conducting Na channels and use to demonstrate Na conductance of a plant cyclic nucleotide gated channel. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Brini, F., K. Masmoudi, R. A. Gaxiola and G. A. Berkowitz. 2003. Cloning and characterization of wheat vacuolar cation/proton antiporter and pyrophosphatase proton pump. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Gaxiola, R. A., J. Li, S. F. Undurraga and H. Yang. 2003. Genetic manipulation of a pyrophosphatase-driven vacuolar H+-pump (AVP1): Impact on nutrition, growth and development, and plant response to abiotic stress. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Gaxiola, R. A., S. Park, J. K. Pittman, G. A. Berkowitz, J. Li, J. Morris, S. F. Undurraga, H. Yang and K. D. Hirschi. 2003. Ecotopic overexpression in tomato of the Arabidopsis AVP1 gene results in drought tolerance. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Li, J. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2003. Over-expression of the vacuolar H+-PPase AVP1 increases cell proliferation and de novo organogenesis in Arabidopsis. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Rabinowitz, N. M., R. W. Mercier, R. A. Gaxiola and G. A. Berkowitz. 2003. Functional characterization of inwardly K-conducting plant cyclic nucleotide gated channels using a trk1, trk2 yeast mutant. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Undurraga, S. F. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2003. Interaction between sos1 mutation and AVP1 overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana: Evidence for an epistatic effect. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

Yang, H. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2003. Up-regulation of the vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase AVP1 improves grow in limiting K+ and PO43- media. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2003, 25-30 July 2003, Honolulu, HI. (link )

2002

Li, J. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2002. Over-expression of the vacuolar H+-PPase AVP1positively affects grwoth and development in Arabidopsis. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2002, 3-7 August 2002, Denver, CO. (link )

2001

Gaxiola, R. A., J. Li, S. F. Undurraga, S. L. Alper and G. R. Fink. 2001. Increased size, salt and drought tolerance in A. thaliana over-expressing AVP1 vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase. Poster presented at the Plant Biology 2001, 21-25 July 2001, Providence, RI. (link )

Li, J., S. F. Undurraga, G. R. Fink and R. A. Gaxiola. 2001. Overexpression of a tonoplast H+-pump increases biomass and tolerance to abiotic stresses in transgenic plants. Poster presented at the 12th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, 23-27 June 2001, Madison, WI.

Presentations

2006

Yang, H., J. Knapp, A. Murphy and R. A. Gaxiola. 2006. The type I H+-PPase AVP1 functions at the crossroads between low Pi sensing, enhanced auxin sensitivity and root architecture plasticity. Presentation at the 2nd Pan American Plant Membrane Biology Workshop, 5-21 May 2006, South Padre Island, TX. (link )

2005

Li, J., H. Yang, L. Lopez, G. Richter, J. Blakeslee, A. Bandyopadhyay, W. Peer, B. Titapiwantakun, S. F. Undurraga, A. Murphy, S. Gilroy and R. A. Gaxiola. 2005. The H+-PPase AVP1 is requred for organ development in Adrabidopsis. Presentation at the Plant Biology 2005: Auxin Minisymposium, 16-20 July 2005, Seattle, WA. (link )

Yang, H., J. Knapp and R. A. Gaxiola. 2005. Overexpression of the vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase AVP1 enhances phosphorus uptake in Arabidopsis thaliana. Presentation at the Plant Biology 2005 Mineral Nutrition and Salinity Minisymposium, 16-20 July 2005, Seattle, WA. (link )

2004

Undurraga, S. F. and R. A. Gaxiola. 2004. Interaction between sos1 mutation and AVP1 overexpression in Arabidopsis thaliana: Evidence for an epistatic effect and a role in potassium nutrition. Presentation at the Plant Biology 2004: Salinity Minisymposium, 24-28 July 2004, Lake Buena Vista, FL. (link )