|Support type:||Scholarships in Brazil - Master|
|Effective date (Start):||March 01, 2014|
|Effective date (End):||February 28, 2015|
|Field of knowledge:||Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms|
|Principal researcher:||Mauricio Bacci Junior|
|Grantee:||Suzana Fortolan Baptista Do Nascimento|
|Home Institution:||Centro de Estudos de Insetos Sociais (CEIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil|
Mutualistic associations affect all living organisms. Attini ants comprise a promising biological model for studies of mutualism because these ant s nutrition depends on mutualistic basidiomycete fungi. These fungi produce depolymerases that degrade plant polysaccharides, producing simple sugars that are essential for the survival of ants. Biochemical studies suggest the presence of mutualistic metabolic pathways starting with steps catalyzed by fungal enzymes and ending with steps catalyzed by ant enzymes. In addition, genomic studies indicate that the ants may not be able to synthesize some amino acids that would be supplied by the fungi. To assess the proposed metabolic interdependence within mutualists, in this research project we will annotate the transcriptome of the Attine ant Atta sexdens rubropilosa in search of metabolic pathways related to ant nutrition. To accomplish that, we will evaluate the presence and expression of genes related to the biosynthesis of aminoacid and other essential compounds, as well as enzymes participating in polysaccharide degradation, in a database generated by next generation sequencing transcriptomics. These ants are among the most derived Attini, so we expect to find a high interdependence between this organisms and its mutualistic fungus.