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BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Jose Pueyo-Marques

Dr Jose Pueyo-Marques

Dr Jose Ignacio Pueyo Marques

Dr Jose Pueyo-Marques

Research Fellow
T: +44 (0) 1273 877876
Location: Writing room 1, BSMS Medical Research Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9PS

Areas of expertise: Genetics; development; evolution; small open reading frames; long non-coding RNAs; ribosome profiling; drosophila; non-model insects (periplaneta, tribolium); cell culture in drosophila cells and mammalian cells; immunocytochemistry and in situ hybridisation; immunoprecipitation and protein fractionation for proteomics; CRISPR and transgenesis; confocal and fluorescence microscopy. 


Jose's career began at the Genetics’ Department (Valencia University) investigating the muscleblind gene in Drosophila, whose mutations in humans cause muscular-dystrophy. During his PhD (London University; Prof Couso), he characterised a functional code of Lim-Hox proteins involved in Drosophila leg segments formation, previously only being implicated in neural-specification, thus extending their functional repertoire with important implications due to their conservation. 

At the beginning of his postdoctoral career (University of Sussex), Jose explored the evolution of developmental mechanisms through a comparative analysis involving Drosophila and the cockroach-Periplaneta. This revealed that the role of Wnt and Notch pathways during embryonic segmentation, which doesn’t exist in Drosophila, appears to be conserved among arthropods and vertebrates. Furthermore, he functionally characterised the tarsal-less(tal) gene encoding 11-32aa peptides. Tal peptides act as a signals that regulates the posttranscriptional-processing of Shavenbaby. In addition, Tal peptides belong an ancient gene family appearing >330 MYA.

Recently, Jose has focused on the characterisation of Drosophila smORFs and their functional homology. First, he showed that sarcolamban(scl) 29aa peptides are involved in heart contraction rhythmicity. Scl belongs to a conserved family and mutations in their human counterparts produce cardiac arrhythmias. In addition, Jose's research has demonstrated that these peptides regulate calcium SERCA pump. In macrophages, he found that Hemotin(88aa) localises at endosomes and regulates their maturation during phagocytosis through Pi3K inhibition. Its vertebrate homologue Stannin is able to fulfil Hemotin’s function and has been related to heavy-metal-cytotoxicity. Thus, smORFs are functional units of the genome whose research can bring great discoveries with important medical implications. 



Through his research, Jose's main goal is aiming to understand how smORF function arises and how it evolves to be finally beneficial for the organism and being therefore kept and maintain in the genome. To achieve this goal, Jose has embarked in two avenues of research: the first consists of advancing the reliable identification of smORF genes in the genome, by improving detection methods such as Ribosome Profiling and Proteomics, but also developing new bioinformatics tools to assess smORF function, such as conservation, etc. Based on these approaches, Jose has already identified different classes of smORFs regarding their expression, translation and conservation. The second avenue consists of the functional characterisation of these classes of smORF genes using one of the best model organisms, Drosophila melanogaster, to ascertain whether these different classes of smORFs are liked to specific functions and also exploring the existence of functional conservation between fruit flies and humans. 

Selected publications

Rogoyski, O, Pueyo, J.I, Couso J.P and Newbury S.F;  2017. Functions of long non-coding RNAs in human disease and their conservation in Drosophila development. Biochemical Society Transactions.

Pueyo, Jose I1; Magny, Emile G1; Couso, Juan P; 2016. New peptides under the s(ORF)face of the genome. Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 41 (8), 665-327. 

Pueyo, José I; Magny, Emile G; Sampson, Christopher J; Amin, Unum; Evans, Iwan R; Bishop, Sarah A; Couso, Juan P;  2016. Hemotin, a Regulator of Phagocytosis Encoded by a Small ORF and Conserved across Metazoans. PLoS Biol 14. 3. e1002395. 

Magny, Emile G; Pueyo, Jose Ignacio; Pearl, Frances MG; Cespedes, Miguel Angel; Niven, Jeremy E; Bishop, Sarah A; Couso, Juan Pablo;  2013. Conserved regulation of cardiac calcium uptake by peptides encoded in small open reading frames. Science 341. 6150. 1116-1120. 

Chesebro, John E; Pueyo, Jose Ignacio*; Couso, Juan Pablo*;  2012 Interplay between a Wnt-dependent organiser and the Notch segmentation clock regulates posterior development in Periplaneta americana Biology open.   BIO20123699. 

Pueyo, Jose I; Couso, Juan Pablo;  2011. Tarsal-less peptides control Notch signalling through the Shavenbaby transcription factor. Developmental biology 355. 2. 183-193. 

Pueyo, JI1; Lanfear, Robert1; Couso, JP;  2008. Ancestral Notch-mediated segmentation revealed in the cockroach Periplaneta americana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105. 43. 16614-16619. 

Galindo, Máximo Ibo1; Pueyo, José Ignacio1; Fouix, Sylvaine; Bishop, Sarah Anne; Couso, Juan Pablo;  2007. Peptides encoded by short ORFs control development and define a new eukaryotic gene family. PLoS Biol. 5. 5. e106.