Universidad de Córdoba

Universidad de Córdoba

The Universidad de Córdoba (UCO) is a non-profit High Education and Research Institution established in 1972.

The research efforts are compound of 193 research units and 2.500 employees, covering different disciplines range from the Humanities, Legal and Social Sciences to the Health Sciences and Science and Technology.

UCO is considered at the forefront of research in Andalusia and is ranking among the top research institutions at the national level (nº1 in Agriculture according to ranking of Spanish Universities), with more than two thousands papers published in Agricultural Sciences and Plant & Animal Science.

Also, our institution is involved in The Agrifood Campus of International Excellence (ceiA3) as well as in several research centers as the IMIBIC (Institute Maimonides of Biomedical Research) and the “University Research Institute of Fine Chemicals and Nanochemistry” and in the creation of the Rabanales-21 Science and Technology Park 

UCO is also equipped with cutting-edge centralized research facilities, which are located on Rabanales Campus. These facilities include a Scanning Confocal Electron Microscope (SCEM), a Genomics and Proteomics Unit, A NIR/MIR Spectroscopy Unit, a Mass Spectrometry Unit, a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Unit, among others. The university, also possess greenhouse facilities, its own meteorology station and a Central Animal Experimentation Unit which complies with national and European legislation concerning research with genetically modified animals. All research conducted at UCO is overseen by a Bioethics Committee.

UCO has a commitment with society, promoting innovation, research and technological development as an instrument for the social and economic progress. In this way, transfer of knowledge is also one of the missions of this university. UCO has a Scientific Culture Unit, responsible for dissemination of the research carried out in the Institution and for the communication of knowledge to the society. Furthermore, libraries located on different campuses provide access to digital research services such as scientific publication/data repository, including open access.

The UCO has considerable experience in managing and implementing international projects: since 2007, 30 projects (7ThFrameworkProgram), 22 H2020 projects, and 37 projects funded by European programs. A Knowledge-Transfer-Office, with an International-Projects-Area, facilitates the management, implementation and dissemination of transnational projects as well as the transfer of knowledge and protection of results. UCO has obtained the 'Human Resources Excellence in Research logo ' (HRS4R) awarded by the EU Commission, which ensure the improvement of working conditions for researchers across Europe. Furthermore, as local contact point of Euraxess Network, supports researcher mobility and career development, enhancing scientific collaboration between UCO and international researchers. 

Research Activity

UCO has already identified interesting target genes regulating the strawberry response to fungal pathogens such as B. cinerea and Colletotrichum spp.. Thus, FaWRKY1 gene encodes a WRKY transcription factor involved in defence1. Transient silencing (RNAi) of this gene in fruit by agroinfiltration increased resistance of harvested fruit to C. acutatum suggesting that FaWRKY1 acts as a susceptibility gene2. Also, FaNPR3.1 gene encodes a strawberry ortholog of the Arabidopsis AtNPR3/AtNPR4 proteins3. Preliminary studies by UCO-Spain in strawberry fruit showed that transient silencing (RNAi) of FaNPR3.1 enhanced fruit resistance to C. acutatum4.

Similarly, important information regulatory gene sequences and promoter inducibility has been acquired by UCO for fruit ripening-related genes. Thus, FaAAT2 gene encodes an acyl transferase involved in strawberry aroma biogenesis, which is specifically expressed in fruit during development and maturation stages in many Fragaria X ananassa cultivars5. In addition, the FaDOF2 gene encodes a fruit-specific transcription factor, which regulates the production of eugenol in ripe fruit receptacles and is expressed in strawberry fruit during development6.

These new knowledge on strawberry defence genes and the availability of natural reporter gene such as the mutant MYB10 allele from the apple, recently identified7, has prompted to UCO to explore the possibility to develop an effective GMO-free approach to add new important traits to elite strawberry cultivars maintaining the quality traits of the cultivar.

1Encinas-Villarejo, S. et al. (2009) Evidence for a positive regulatory role of strawberry (Fragaria× ananassa) Fa WRKY1 and Arabidopsis at WRKY75 proteins in resistance. J. Exp. Bot. doi:10.1093/jxb/erp152.

2JJ, H.-S. et al. (2019) The Strawberry FaWRKY1 Transcription Factor Negatively Regulates Resistance to Colletotrichum acutatum in Fruit Upon Infection. Front. Plant Sci., 18 April 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2019.00480

3Zhang, Y. et al. (2006) Negative regulation of defense responses in Arabidopsis by two NPR1 paralogs. Plant J. doi:10.1111/j.1365-


4JJ, H.-S. et al. (2016) El silenciamiento del gen Fanpr3.1 de fresa (Fragaria x ananassa) genera resistencia del fruto a la infección por Colletotrichum acutatum y sugiere una función en defensa semejante a la de los genes Atnpr3/Atnpr4 en Arabidopsis. in XXXIX Congreso SEBBM-Salamanca.

5Cumplido-Laso, G. et al. (2012) The fruit ripening related FaAAT2 encodes an acyl transferase involved in strawberry aroma biogenesis. J. Exp.Bot. 63, 4275–4290.

6Molina-Hidalgo, F. J. et al. (2017) The fruit-specific transcription factor FaDOF2 regulates the production of eugenol in ripe fruit receptacles. J.Exp. Bot. doi:10.1093/jxb/erx257

7Krens, F. A. et al. (2015) Cisgenic apple trees; development, characterization, and performance. Front. Plant Sci..doi:10.3389/fpls.2015.00286