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Identification of the pilocarpine biosynthesis route in jaborandi using genetic variability and biochemistry and molecular techniques

Grant number: 14/16488-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2015
Effective date (End): January 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Paulo Mazzafera
Grantee:Mariana Crotti Franco
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Jaborandi (Pilocarpus spp.) belongs to Rutaceae family and presents a broad distribution in the Brazilian territory. Jaborandi is the only known source of the alkaloid pilocarpine, and Pilocarpus microphyllus and P. jaborandi are the species with highest concentration. Pilocarpine has an important role in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry as it is used to treat glaucoma and xerostomia, and it is a component of anti-aging creams. The intensive extractive activity of jaborandi leaves made P. microphyllus and P. jaborandi to be included in a list of endangered plants. This fact had been encouraged the preservation and the need of isolation and identification of pilocarpine biosynthetic route for its in vitro production. Pilocarpine biosynthesis and precursors are still unknown. In this study, biochemical and molecular techniques, such as RNAseq, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and suspension cell culture techniques, will be used to investigate the pilocarpine biosynthesis route. We also aim to identify the precursors in order to improve the in vitro production by suspension cell culture. (AU)

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