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Development of alternative biological models for the study of sugarcane regulatory networks

Grant number: 11/00818-8
Support type:Program for Research on Bioenergy (BIOEN) - Young Investigators Grants
Duration: June 01, 2011 - November 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry
Principal Investigator:Carlos Takeshi Hotta
Grantee:Carlos Takeshi Hotta
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated grant(s):14/50306-1 - Circardian and sugar signalling in grasses, AP.BIOEN.R
Associated scholarship(s):13/05301-9 - Study on the interactions between the biological clock and desiccation in photosynthetic eukaryotes, BP.DR
13/08574-6 - Auxin signaling pathways and their interactions with the circadian clock in sugarcane, BP.DR
12/18122-2 - Transformação de Brachypodium distachyon com repórteres do relógio Biologico da cana-de-açúcar, BP.IC
11/08897-4 - Characterization of the sugarcane circadian clock and its impact on the metabolism, BP.DR


One bottleneck in the improvement of sugarcane is the lack of basic information about its biology and the biology of grasses in general. One of the causes of this bottleneck is the difficulty in maintaining sugarcane as a biological model, due to its size and long life cycle. Moreover, sugarcane transformation and crossing are technically challenging, which makes the high-throughput use of forward and reverse genetics techniques impossible. In face of these difficulties, this project aims to use alternative model organisms as tools to study sugarcane regulatory networks. We propose the use of Arabidopsis thaliana and Brachypodium distachyon as main model organisms and Setaria italica as secondary model organisms. While A. thaliana and B. distachyon have many resources available to the community (established protocols, sequenced genome, stock centers, genetic maps, etc.), the Setaria have C4 photosynthesis, the same as sugarcane. We also propose to use of the bioluminescent protein LUCIFERASE as a promoter activity reporter. This reporter allows the estimation of promoter activity in a non-destructive way. These tools will be used to study the sugarcane circadian clock. The circadian clock is a regulatory network that organizes the plant metabolism in time. Plants that have no circadian clock accumulate less biomass and has smaller water use efficiency. We have recently identified more than 2 thousand sugarcane genes that are clock-regulated, especially those associated with photosynthesis and sugar metabolism. Even though our initial focus is in the circadian clock, this project increase the availability of tools that can be used in the study sugarcane, which can be used by other projects that are part of BIOEN and the Centro Paulista de Pesquisa em Bioenergia. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ALVES-LIMA, CICERO; CAVACANA, NATALE; TEIXEIRA CHAVES, GUSTAVO ANTONIO; DE LIMA, NATALIA OLIVEIRA; STEFANELLO, ELIEZER; COLEPICOLO, PIO; HOTTA, CARLOS TAKESHI. Reference genes for transcript quantification in Gracilaria tenuistipitata under drought stress. JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYCOLOGY, v. 29, n. 2, p. 731-740, APR 2017. Web of Science Citations: 2.

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