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Circardian and sugar signalling in grasses

Grant number: 14/50306-1
Support type:Program for Research on Bioenergy (BIOEN) - Regular Program Grants
Duration: August 01, 2014 - July 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry - Molecular Biology
Cooperation agreement: University of Cambridge
Principal researcher:Carlos Takeshi Hotta
Grantee:Carlos Takeshi Hotta
Principal researcher abroad: Alexander A. R. Webb
Institution abroad: University of Cambridge, England
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/00818-8 - Development of alternative biological models for the study of sugarcane regulatory networks, AP.BIOEN.JP


The circadian clock is a signalling pathway that encodes temporal information. This pathway allows the metabolism and physiology of plants to be synchronized to rhythmic environmental changes, which increases biomass accumulation. Recently, a new pathway in the circadian clock in which photosynthetically-derived sugars regulate the clock through a "metabolic-dawn" has been described. In addition to the daily regulation of the circadian clock by photosynthetically-derived sugars, it has previously described longer-term sugar-dependent regulation of the circadian clock mediated through AtGI (GIGANTEA). The aim of this project is to establish an UK-Brazil consortium dedicated to transfer the knowledge about metabolic regulation of the circadian system from the model plant Arabidopsis to grasses, in particular sugarcane and the model grasses Brachypodium distachyon and Setaria italica. Sugarcane has a robust circadian clock that controls a large proportion of its transcripts, larger than any other plant studied. However, most of what is known about circadian clock has been studied in Arabidopsis. Commercial sugarcane can store very large amounts of sucrose in its shoots. Stored sucrose down regulates photosynthetic activity, limiting suqarcanes ability to accumulate biomass. However, it is unknown if sucrose can regulate the circadian clock of sugarcane or other grasses. Since the orthologues of the Arabidopsis genes required for circadian sugar signalling are present in the grasses, we consider it urgent to assess how sugars and the circadian clock interact in these systems. The nature of the circadian and sugar signalling in grasses, and how they interact, may provide information about how to improve productivity in this group, which includes many other important crops such as wheat, barley, rice, maize, sorghum and sugarcane. (AU)

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