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Paula Gonçalves


Paula Gonçalves

BSc 1988 Universidade Nova de Lisboa
PhD 1995 Free University of Amsterdam

Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia
Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Quinta da Torre
2829-516 Caparica

Email: pmz@fct.unl.pt

Telephone:  00 351 21 294 8500 ext 11114



1988 Degree in Applied Chemistry (spec. Biotechnology), FCT/UNL, Portugal

1989-1995 PhD student at Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

1995-1998 Post-doc at the Free University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

1998-1999 Post-doc at CREM, FCT/UNL, Portugal

1999- Present  -  Assistant Professor, FCT/UNL, Portugal


Research Topic
We are currently interested in several topics in yeast biology that can be fruitfully explored using comparative genomics. One of those topics concerns the molecular and functional characterization of mating systems in a group of fungi (Pucciniomycotina, Basidiomycota) that includes the red (pigmented) yeasts, but also important plant pathogens like the rust fungi. We recently uncovered a mating system in red yeasts, that we named pseudobipolar, which had never been found before. As a result, we proposed a revised model for the evolution of mating systems in Basidiomycota and are currently using Comparative Genomics to refine this model and trace its evolutionary history.

A second topic we are focusing on concerns the function and evolution of sugar transporters, presently with particular emphasis on fructose transporters that play a major role in fructophily in yeasts. Fructophily is the preference for fructose over glucose as carbon and energy source, a phenotype exhibited only by a very restricted number of species among ascomycetous yeasts. We are particularly interested in the role of sugar transport in fructophily and are using a combination of approaches including yeast physiology and genetics and comparative genomics to unravel the molecular basis of fructophilic behavior. This knowledge will be valuable to devise strategies to correct incomplete fructose fermentation, a problem often encountered during the production of alcoholic beverages from fruit juices, notably during wine must fermentation.

Finally, we join efforts with the Evolutionary Ecology lab at CREM to address questions related to speciation in Saccharomyces, aiming to understand the particularities of the extant distribution of the different species in Nature and the ecological relevance of phenotypic differences between species.

Research Team
Molecular and functional characterization of mating systems

José Paulo Sampaio (PI Evolutionary Ecology, CREM)
Marco Coelho (Post doc)
Márcia Palma (PhD student)
Function and evolution of sugar transporters
Madalena Oom (Senior Researcher, 20%)
Helena Sousa (Senior Researcher, 20%)
Carla Gonçalves (BI holder)

Current Projects

  • PTDC/AGR-ALI/112802/2009
    “Improvement of fructose fermentation by industrial strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae”

  • PTDC/BIA-GEN/112799/2009
    “Comparative genomics approach to unravelling a new sexual reproduction system in fungi”

    Recent publications

    Coelho M.A., Gonçalves P., Sampaio J.P. (2011). Evidence for maintenance of sex determinants but not of sexual stages in red yeasts, a group of early diverged basidiomycetes. BMC Evol Biol. (2011) 11: 249.

    Libkind D., Hittinger C.T., Valério E., Gonçalves C., Dover J., Johnston M., Gonçalves P., Sampaio J.P. (2011). Microbe domestication and the identification of the wild genetic stock of lager-brewing yeast. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108(35): 14539-44.

    Gonçalves P., Valério E., Correia C., de Almeida J.M., Sampaio J.P. (2011). Evidence for divergent evolution of growth temperature preference in sympatric Saccharomyces species. PLoS One.;6(6): e20739.

    Salema-Oom M., De Sousa H.R., Assunção M., Gonçalves P., Spencer-Martins I.( 2011). Derepression of a baker's yeast strain for maltose utilization is associated with severe deregulation of HXT gene expression. J Appl Microbiol. 110(1): 364-74.

    Galeote V., Novo M., Salema-Oom M., Brion C., Valério E., Gonçalves P., Dequin S.( 2010). FSY1, a horizontally transferred gene in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae EC1118 wine yeast strain, encodes a high-affinity fructose/H+ symporter. Microbiology.156: 3754-61.

    Coelho M.A., Sampaio J.P., Gonçalves P. (2010). A deviation from the bipolar-tetrapolar mating paradigm in an early diverged basidiomycete. PLoS Genet. 6(8).

    Hittinger C.T., Gonçalves P., Sampaio J.P., Dover J., Johnston M., Rokas A. (2010). Remarkably ancient balanced polymorphisms in a multi-locus gene network. Nature. 464(7285): 54-8.

    Leandro MJ, Fonseca C, Gonçalves P. (2009) Hexose and pentose transport in ascomycetous yeasts: an overview. FEMS Yeast Res. 9, 511-525.

    Leandro M.J., Spencer-Martins I., Gonçalves P.(2008). The expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae of a glucose/xylose symporter from Candida intermedia is affected by the presence of a glucose/xylose facilitator. Microbiology, 154:1646-1655.

    Coelho M.A., Rosa A., Rodrigues N., Fonseca A., Gonçalves P. (2008). Identification of mating type genes in the bipolar basidiomycetous yeast Rhodosporidium toruloides: first insight into the MAT locus structure of the Sporidiobolales. Eukaryot Cell., 71053-71061.

    Sampaio J.P., Gonçalves P.(2008). Natural populations of Saccharomyces kudriavzevii in Portugal are associated with oak bark and are sympatric with S. cerevisiae and S. paradoxus. Appl Environ Microbiol., 74:2144-52.

    Leandro M.J., Goncalves P., Spencer-Martins I.(2006). Two glucose/xylose transporter genes from the yeast Candida intermedia: first molecular characterization of a yeast xylose/H + symporter. Biochem J., 395:543-549.


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