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Functional characterization of the galacturosyltransferase 4 gene of tomato

Grant number: 11/20068-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2011
Effective date (End): May 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Principal researcher:Maria Magdalena Rossi
Grantee:Bruno Silvestre Lira
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The galacturnosyltranferases are enzymes involved in the pectin synthesis, which is a fundamental constituent of the cell wall. Researches with Arabidopsis thaliana identified 25 genes with similarity to galacturnosyltransferases, being grouped in two families: galacturonosyltransferases (GAUT's) with 15 members, and galacturonosyltransferases-like (GATL's) with 10 members. Although these enzymes great importance to the plant development, up to date only one of Arabidopsis, named GAUT1, had its activity proved and characterized. Interestingly, mutants for all GAUT's were recovered except for GAUT4, indicating a specific and fundamental role of this protein during the development.Solanum lycopersicum is a specie of great nutritional and economic importance, that became a model organism to the fleshy fruit plants. Recently, our research group indentified the GAUT4 gene associated with a QTL to galacturonic acid content in the tomato fruit. Due to the importance of further knowledge about the composition and structure of the plants cell wall for the tomato as much as for various biotechnological uses regarding the bioenergy production, this project aims the functional characterization of tomato GAUT 4. In order to fulfill this goal, the phenotypic characterization of silenced tomato plants for the gene of interest with different approaches and techniques will be done.

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