Anita Dolly Panek

FOTO Scientific Name: Panek, A.D.
E-mail: [email protected]

   From 1959 to 1987 we devoted our studies to the regulation of trehalose metabolism in yeast cells. In 1988 we were able to show unequivocally that endogenous trehalose protects cells against the damage caused by freezing. Since than we have demonstrated that the disaccharide is required for survival of cells when submitted to various kinds of stress, such as, dehydration, ethanol, heat and germination. It does not seem to play a part, directly, in the protection against oxidative stress. Furthermore, the role of the trehalose transporter was assessed, although it seemed difficult to envisage its existence since trehalose is not widely spread in nature. We have shown that, although, the carrier protein behaves as a trehalose-H, high affinity, symport, its main role is to export part of the accumulated trehalose to the outer side of the membrane, thus allowing for better protection. Both academic studies and technological applications are being currently carried out.

Biographical Data

Born in Cracow, Poland on 1 September 1930.
Educated at Bennett College, Rio de Janeiro, 1942-1949;
Federal Univ. of Rio de Janeiro, B.Sc. in Chemistry, 1954;
Privatdozent, 1962;
Ph.D., 1962.

Research Scientist, Natl. Research Council, 1961 to date.

Assistant Professor in Industrial Microbiology, School of Chemistry,
Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), 1954-1961
Associate Professor in Biochemistry, Institute of Chemistry, UFRJ, 1962-1975
Full Professor, 1976
Member Univ. Resarch Council, 1961-1984.
Head Dept. of Biochemistry, Inst. of Chemistry, UFRJ, Brazil, 1990-1995.
Professor Emeritus, 1995.


Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1986.
Latin American Academy of Sciences, Caracas, Venezuela, 1989.
Third World Academy of Sciences, 1989.


Commander of the Order of Natl. Scientifc Merit, Brazil, 1996.

Research Areas

    Regulation of energy metabolism using the yeast cell as an experimental model. Of special international interest is the metabolism of trehalose, a compound considered today not only as a source of energy, but mainly, as a protective substance for membranes and proteins when the cell is submitted to environmental stress. This investigation has given the group she coordinates approximately 138 publications in international journals, the registration of 3 patents, and 48 theses of Master and PhD degrees. The technological applications that derive from this basic research are of wide interest and trelalose is being used in the preservation of dehydrated and lyophilized biological materials. Therefore another of her aims is achieved, that of the association of basic research and biotechnology in service of the community.

Selected Papers

Souza, A.C., De Mesquita, J.F., Panek, A.D. et al.
Evidence for a modulation of neutral trehalase activity by Ca2+ and cAMP signaling pathways in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Braz J Med Biol Res, Jan 2002, vol.35, no.1, p.11-16.

Peixoto DN, Panek AD.
The involvement of hexokinases in trehalose synthesis.
Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1999 May;47(5):873-80.

Eleutherio EC, Silva JT, Panek AD.
Identification of an integral membrane 80 kDa protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae induced in response to dehydration.
Cell Stress Chaperones. 1998 Mar;3(1):37-43.

De Mesquita JF, Paschoalin VM, Panek AD.
Modulation of trehalase activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by an intrinsic protein.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Mar 15;1334(2-3):233-9.

Cuber R, Eleutherio EC, Pereira MD, Panek AD.
The role of the trehalose transporter during germination.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1997 Dec 4;1330(2):165-71.

Paiva CL, Panek AD.
Biotechnological applications of the disaccharide trehalose.
Biotechnol Annu Rev. 1996;2:293-314. Review.


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