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Identification of new inhibitor molecules of the enzyme alternative oxidase with potential antifungal activity against cocoa pathogens

Grant number: 15/09870-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2015
Effective date (End): July 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Grantee:Bárbara Aliende Pires
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) is a crop of great economic importance, because it provides almonds used for the production of worldwide-appreciated chocolate, which demand grows annually. However, diseases of fungal origin are a major cause of loss in cocoa production. In Brazil, the pathogens of greatest importance are Moniliophthora perniciosa and Ceratocystis cacaofunesta, etiological agents of Witch's Broom Disease and Wilt Disease, respectively. From a research program devoted to these subjects, our group found that the mitochondrial enzyme Alternative Oxidase (AOX) from these pathogens plays an important role in their survival and virulence. Thus, AOX is considered as a molecular target of great interest to control of these diseases. After a collaboration with experts in fields of structural biology and biological chemistry, new potential AOX inhibitors were planned and synthesized. This research project aims to evaluate these new molecules for their ability to inhibit the AOX of fungi in different experimental models, generating data that will be useful for planning an effective crop protection methods.

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)
COSTA, PAULO C. S.; BARSOTTINI, MARIO R. O.; VIEIRA, MARIA L. L.; PIRES, BARBARA A.; EVANGELISTA, JOEL S.; ZERI, ANA C. M.; NASCIMENTO, ANDREY F. Z.; SILVA, JAQUELINE S.; CARAZZOLLE, MARCELO F.; PEREIRA, GONCALO A. G.; SFORCA, MAURICIO L.; MIRANDA, PAULO C. M. L.; ROCCO, SILVANA A. N-Phenylbenzamide derivatives as alternative oxidase inhibitors: Synthesis, molecular properties, H-1-STD NMR, and QSAR. Journal of Molecular Structure, v. 1208, MAY 15 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
BARSOTTINI, MARIO R. O.; PIRES, BARBARA A.; VIEIRA, MARIA L.; PEREIRA, JOSE G. C.; COSTA, PAULO C. S.; SANITA, JAQUELINE; CORADINI, ALESSANDRO; MELLO, FELLIPE; MARSCHALK, CIDNEI; SILVA, EDER M.; PASCHOAL, DANIELE; FIGUEIRA, ANTONIO; RODRIGUES, FABIO H. S.; CORDEIRO, ARTUR T.; MIRANDA, PAULO C. M. L.; OLIVEIRA, PAULO S. L.; SFORCA, MAURICIO L.; CARAZZOLLE, MARCELO F.; ROCCO, SILVANA A.; PEREIRA, GONCALO A. G. Synthesis and testing of novel alternative oxidase (AOX) inhibitors with antifungal activity against Moniliophthora perniciosa (Stahel), the causal agent of witches' broom disease of cocoa, and other phytopathogens. Pest Management Science, v. 75, n. 5, p. 1295-1303, MAY 2019. Web of Science Citations: 1.

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