Soares Silva Isabel João

Isabel João Silva

People Detail

Address : Campus de Gualtar

Phone Number : 253601519

Research Area : Molecular targets

Position : Integrated members


Isabel Soares Silva graduated in Applied Biology at Minho University and latter obtained a specialisation in Molecular Genetics. She finished her PhD in 2006 in the field of Yeast Molecular Biology. In her subsequent PostDoc she specialized in the field of structure-function studies of permeases working in Minho Univ. and in the George Diallinas’ lab at Athens Univ, Greece. She then joined the Nephrology R&D Unit Porto Univ., as a research assistant, where she implemented a new research field that addressed catheter-related infections in dialysis patients, besides actively collaborating in ongoing group projects. Latter at the research Nephrology and Infectiology R&D group at INEB/I3S (UPorto) she focused on the characterisation of the Chronic Kidney Disease microbiome. Since October 2016 she has returned to the field of carboxylate transporters working on the project EcoAgriFood as an invited research assistant. She is now involved in the identification of novel transporter proteins for expression in biorefineries, and the production of value-added chemicals from biomass.


At the present time I am interested in the identification and characterization of novel carboxylate transporters, with a potential biotechnological application. Several carboxylic acids are among the top value added chemicals produced from biomass, as these building-blocks can be subsequently converted to a number of high-value bio-based chemicals or materials. Different strategies have been developed to improve the cell factory production of these acids; however the export of these molecules is still a major bottleneck. In our group the study of carboxylic acid transporters has been one of the major focuses of research for several years now. The characterization of these transporters is done both at the functional and molecular levels. Transporter proteins are characterized by heterologous expression in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain with no carrier-mediated carboxylate transport at the plasma membrane. In addition, structure-function studies are conducted to unravel the mechanisms of substrate recognition and specificity of these proteins.

Ongoing Projects

Team member
MetaFungal - Metabolism of carboxylic acids in Fungal Infections (PTDC/BIA-MIC/5246/2020)

Concluded Projects

Principal Investigator


Establishment of an in vitro model system for the study of biofilm formation in hemodialysis tunneled catheters Financed by ESCMID Research Grants 2014

Team member

JENesis -Molecular and genetic analysis of monocarboxylic acid transporters in yeasts. Financed by Portuguese Foundation for Science (FCT) POCTI/1999/BME/36625.

PermYeast – Molecular biology of the monocarboxylic acids permeases in yeast: from functional to structural analysis. Financed by Portuguese Foundation for Science (FCT) POCTI/ BMC/57812/2004.

Increased cardiovascular risk in chronic renal insufficiency. Role of the novel monoamine-oxidase renalase in the sympathetic and renal dopaminergic activities Financed by Portuguese Foundation for Science (FCT) PIC/IC/83029/2007

Mechanisms of natriuretic peptide system dysfunction in nephrotic syndrome: relationship with reduced renal dopaminergic system activity and vitamin D3 deficiency Financed by Portuguese Nephrology Society 2011

Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 (FGF-23) in patients on peritoneal dialysis: relationship with peritoneal transport and cardiovascular outcome Financed by Baxter Clinical Evidence Council in 2011

Consolidação das Competências e Recursos de Investigação em Biotecnologia Celular e Molecular no CEB/IBB. Financed by Portuguese Foundation for Science (FCT) (FCT RECI/BBB-EBI/0179/2012)

TransAcids. Structural functional studies of carboxylic acid transporters: Novel tools in production optimization using industrial microbes (PTDC/BIA-MIC/5184/2014)

EcoAgriFood: Innovative green products and processes to promote Agri-Food BioEconomy (operação NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000009)

MicroMOB - The microbiome mobility pathway in chronic kidney disease and its role in infection and systemic inflammation FCT (02/SAICT/2017)

River2Ocean- Socio-ecological and biotechnological solutions for the conservation and valorisation of aquatic biodiversity in the Minho Region (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000068)


Liliana Simões-Silva, PhD student, Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade do Porto, Advances In The Role Of The Microbiome In Peritoneal Dialysis (Main supervisor) 2012-2019
Maria Antónia Silva, PhD Student, Doctoral Program in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (DP_AEM) University of Minho, Identification and functional characterization of novel plasma membrane carboxylate transporters (Main supervisor) 2016-2021
João Fernando Alves, PhD student, Doctoral Program in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (DP_AEM) University of Minho “Yeast as a model system for the study carboxylic acid transporters (Main supervisor) 2020-present
Ana Rita da Silva Bragança (). Bioprospection of marine microorganisms as a source of inspiration to design novel antimicrobial peptides. FCT reference 2023.00217.BD. PhD in Biology (PDBMA), University of Minho, Braga, Portugal (Co-Supervisor) 2023-Present


1. Soares-Silva, I., Schuller, D., Andrade, R. P., Baltazar, F., Cássio F., Casal M. 2003. Functional expression of the lactate permease Jen1p of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in Pichia pastoris. Biochemical Journal, 376, 781-787. IF 4.101
2. Soares-Silva, I., Paiva, S., Kötter, P., Entian, K.-D., Casal M. 2004. The disruption of JEN1 from Candida albicans impairs the transport of lactate. Molecular Membrane Biology, 21, 403-411. IF 5.667
3. Soares-Silva, I., Paiva, S., Diallinas, G. and Casal, M., 2007. The conserved sequence NXX[S/T]HX[S/T]QDXXXT of the lactate/pyruvate:H+ symporter subfamily defines the function of the substrate translocation pathway. Molecular Membrane Biology, 24, 464-74. IF 3.870
4. Oliveira, J., Soares-Silva, I., Fokkema, I., Gonçalves, A., Cabral, A., Diogo, L., Galán, L., Guimarães, A., Fineza, I., den Dunnen, J. T., Santos, R. 2008. New synonymous substitution in POMGNT1 promotes exon skipping in a CMD patient, J Human Gen 53(6):565-72 IF 2.431
5. Oliveira J., Santos R., Soares-Silva I., Jorge P., Vieira E., Oliveira M., Moreira A., Coelho T., Ferreira J., Fonseca M., Barbosa C., Prats J., Aríztegui M., Martins M., Moreno T., Heinimann K., Barbot C., Pascual-Pascual S., Cabral A., Fineza I., Santos M., Bronze-da-Rocha E. 2008. LAMA2 gene analysis in a cohort of 26 congenital muscular dystrophy patients, Clin Genet 74(6):502-12 IF 3.206
6. Casal, M., Paiva, S., Queirós, O., Soares-Silva, I. 2008. Transport of carboxylic acids in yeast, FEMS Microbiol Rev 32(6):974-94. IF 7.963
7. Soares-Silva I, Sá-Pessoa J, Myrianthopoulos V, Mikros E, Casal M, Diallinas G. 2011. A substrate translocation trajectory in a cytoplasm-facing topological model of the monocarboxylate/H(+) symporter Jen1p, Mol Microbiol 81(3):805-17 IF 5.010
8. Simões-Silva, L., Moreira-Rodrigues, M., Quelhas-Santos, J., Fernandes-Cerqueira, C., Pestana, M., Soares-Silva, I., Sampaio-Maia, B. 2013 Intestinal and renal guanylin peptides system in hypertensive obese mice Exp Biol Med 238(1):90-7 IF 2012 2.226
9. Quelhas-Santos J; Sampaio-Maia B; Fernandes-Cerqueira C; Serrão P; Simões-Silva L; Moreira-Rodrigues M; Soares-Silva I; Pestana M, 2013 Sodium dependent decrease activity of renalase in the rat remnant kidney J Hypertens. 31(3):543-52. IF 2012 4.222
10. Quelhas-Santos J, Soares-Silva I, Fernandes-Cerqueira C, Simões-Silva L, Ferreira I, Carvalho C , Coentrão L, Vaz R, Sampaio-Maia B; Pestana M, 2014 Plasma and Urine Renalase Levels and Activity During the Recovery of Renal Function in Kidney Transplant Recipients Exp Biol Med ;239(4):502-811. IF 2012 2.803
11. Quelhas-Santos J, Serrão P, Soares-Silva I, Fernandes-Cerqueira C, Simões-Silva L, Pinho MJ, Remião F, Sampaio-Maia B, Desir G, Pestana M. 2015 Renalase regulates peripheral and central dopaminergic activities American Journal of Physiology - Renal Physiology; 308 (2), F84-F91 IF 2014 3.248
12. Quelhas-Santos J, Sampaio-Maia B, Remião F, Serrão P, Soares-Silva I, Desir G, Pestana M 2015 “Assessment of renalase activity on catecholamines degradation” The Open Hypertension Journal; 7: 14-18. 
13. Soares-Silva I, Ribas D, Foskolou IP, Barata B, Bessa D, Paiva S, Queirós O, Casal M. 2015 The Debaryomyces hansenii carboxylate transporters Jen1 homologues are functional in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FEMS Yeast Res. Dec;15(8).
14. Sarmento-Dias M , Santos-Araújo C, Poínhos R, Oliveira B, Sousa M, Simões Silva L, Soares Silva I, Correia F and Pestana M, 2015, Associations between Peritoneal Daily Phosphate Removal and Regulators of Phosphate Metabolism Including Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients. J Kidney 1: 109. doi: 10.4172/2472-1220.1000109
15. Sarmento-Dias M., C. Santos-Araújo, R. Poínhos, B. Oliveira, M. Sousa, L. Simões-Silva, I. Soares-Silva, F. Correia, M. Pestana, 2016 Fibroblast Growth Factor 23 is associated with Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, Not with Uremic Vasculopathy in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients" Clin Nephrol. Mar;85(3):135-41. doi: 10.5414/CN108716.
16. Simões-Silva L, Correia I, Barbosa J, Sousa MJ, Santos-Araújo C, Pestana M, Soares-Silva, I; Sampaio-Maia, B, 2016 Asymptomatic effluent protozoa colonization in peritoneal dialysis patients Perit Dial Int September-October 2016 vol. 36 no. 5 566-569. doi: 10.3747/pdi.2015.00226
17. Correia I, Simões-Silva L, Santos-Araujo C, Sousa MJ, Pestana M, Soares-Silva I, Sampaio-Maia B, Barbosa J 2016 Low prevalence of oral protozoa colonization in portuguese healthy and end-stage renal disease patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis Boletín de Malariología y Salud Ambiental, Vol. LVI (1): 11-18.
18. Sarmento-Dias M., C. Santos-Araújo, R. Poínhos, B. Oliveira, M. Sousa, L. Simões-Silva, I. Soares-Silva, F. Correia, M. Pestana, 2017 Phase angle predicts arterial stiffness and vascular calcification in peritoneal dialysis patients Perit Dial Int. 2017 pii: pdi.2015.00276. doi: 10.3747/pdi.2015.00276.
19. David Ribas, Joana Sá-Pessoa, Isabel Soares-Silva, Sandra Paiva, Yvonne Nygård, Laura Ruohonen, Merja Penttilä, Margarida Casal; Yeast as a tool to express sugar acid transporters with biotechnological interest. FEMS Yeast Res 2017 fox005. doi: 10.1093/femsyr/fox005.
20. Liliana Simões-Silva, Sara Silva, Carla Santos-Araujo, Joana Sousa, Manuel Pestana, Ricardo Araujo, Isabel Soares-Silva, and Benedita Sampaio-Maia 2017 “Oral Yeast Colonization and Fungal Infections in Peritoneal Dialysis Patients: A Pilot Study,” Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology, vol. 2017, Article ID 4846363, 7 pages. doi:10.1155/2017/4846363
21. Cátia Fernandes Cerqueira, Janete Santos, Benedita Sampaio-Maia, Liliana Simões-Silva, Isabel J. Soares-Silva, Roberto Roncon-Albuquerque Jr and Manuel Pestana, Calcitriol Prevents Cardiovascular Repercussions in Puromycin Aminonucleoside-induced Nephrotic Syndrome 2018 BioMed Research International Volume 2018, Article ID 3609645, 10 pages.
22. Liliana Simões-Silva, Ricardo Araujo, Manuel Pestana, Isabel Soares-Silva, Benedita Sampaio-Maia 2018 The microbiome in chronic kidney disease patients undergoing hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis Pharmacological Research
23. Liliana Simões-Silva, Susana Ferreira, Carla Santos-Araujo, Margarida Tabaio, Manuel Pestana, Isabel J. Soares-Silva and Benedita Sampaio-Maia Oral colonization of Staphylococcus species in a Peritoneal Dialysis population: a possible reservoir for PD-related infections?" Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2018 Aug 2;2018:5789094. doi: 10.1155/2018/5789094
24. David Ribas, Isabel Soares-Silva, Daniel Vieira, Maria Sousa-Silva, Joana Sá-Pessoa, João Azevedo-Silva, Sandra Cristina Viegas, Cecília Maria Arraiano, Sandra Paiva, Pedro Soares, Margarida Casal 2018 The acetate uptake transporter family motif "NPAPLGL(M/S)" is essential for substrate uptake. Fungal Genet Biol. 2018 Oct 16;122:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2018.10.001
25. João Vale, Marta Ribeiro, Ana Cristina Abreu, Isabel Soares-Silva, Manuel Simões, 2019 The use of selected phytochemicals with EDTA against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus epidermidis single and dual-species biofilms Lett Appl Microbiol. 2019 Feb 21. doi: 10.1111/lam.13137
26. Liliana Simões-Silva, Otília Pereira-Lopes, Ricardo Araujo, Joana Correia-Sousa, Ana C. Braga, Isabel Soares-Silva, Benedita Sampaio-Maia. 2019 Influence of dialysis therapies on oral health: a pilot study. Quintessence Int. ; 50(3):216-223. doi: 10.3290/j.qi.a41920.
27. Liliana Simões-Silva, Manuel Pestana, Isabel Soares-Silva*, Benedita Sampaio-Maia*, *co-authors 2020 Peritoneum microbiome in end-stage renal disease patients and the impact of peritoneal dialysis therapy Microorganisms. Jan 25;8(2). 173. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms8020173.
28. Alves R, Sousa-Silva M, Vieira D, Soares P, Chebaro Y, Lorenz MC, Casal M, Soares-Silva I, Paiva S. 2020 Carboxylic Acid Transporters in Candida Pathogenesis. mBio. May 12;11(3):e00156-20. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00156-20
29. Soares-Silva I, Ribas D, Sousa-Silva M, Azevedo-Silva J, Rendulić T, Casal M. 2020 Membrane transporters in the bioproduction of organic acids: state of the art and future perspectives for industrial applications. FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2020 Aug 1;367(15):fnaa118. doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnaa118.
30. Sousa-Silva, M.; Vieira, D.; Soares, P.; Casal, M.; Soares-Silva, I. Expanding the Knowledge on the Skillful Yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii. J. Fungi 2021, 7, 36. Doi: 10.3390/jof7010036
31. Nicolò Baldi, Sophie Claire de Valk, Maria Sousa-Silva, Margarida Casal, Isabel Soares-Silva, Robert Mans, Evolutionary engineering reveals amino acid substitutions in Ato2 and Ato3 that allow improved growth of Saccharomyces cerevisiae on lactic acid, FEMS Yeast Research, Volume 21, Issue 4, June 2021, foab033,
32. Toni Rendulić, João Alves, João Azevedo-Silva, Isabel Soares-Silva, Margarida Casal, New insights into the acetate uptake transporter (AceTr) family: Unveiling amino acid residues critical for specificity and activity, Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal, Volume 19, 2021, Pages 4412-4425
33. Sousa-Silva, M., Soares, P., Alves, J., Vieira, D., Casal, M., Soares-Silva, I.* Uncovering Novel Plasma Membrane Carboxylate Transporters in the Yeast Cyberlindnera jadinii. J. Fungi 8, 51, 2022. doi: 10.3390/jof8010051
34. Rendulić, T., Mendonça-Bahia, F., Soares-Silva, I*., Nevoigt, E.; Casal, M. The Dicarboxylate Transporters from the AceTr Family and Dct-02 Oppositely Affect Succinic Acid Production in S. cerevisiae. J. Fungi 2022, 8, 822.
35. Azevedo, H.; Soares-Silva, I.*; Fonseca, F.; Alves, P.; Silva, D.; Azevedo, M.-M. Impact of Educational Gardens and Workshop Activities on 8th-Grade Student’s Perception and Knowledge of Plant Biology. Educ. Sci. 2022, 12, 619. doi: 10.3390/educsci12090619
36. Alves, J, Sousa-Silva, M., Soares, P., Sauer, M., Casal, M.; Soares-Silva, I.* Structural characterization of the Aspergillus niger citrate transporter CexA uncovers the role of key residues S75, R192 and Q196 Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal 2023, 21, 2884-2898, doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2023.04.025

Book Chapter
1. Benedita Sampaio-Maia, Liliana Simões-Silva, Manuel Pestana, Ricardo Araujo, Isabel Soares-Silva, The role of the gut microbiome on chronic kidney disease. Adv Appl Microbiol 2016 96:65-94. doi: 10.1016/bs.aambs.2016.06.002