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Functional analysis of sugarcane genes modulated by drought in Arabidopsis thaliana plants

Grant number: 16/18116-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2016
Effective date (End): March 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Principal researcher:Marcelo Menossi Teixeira
Grantee:Giovanna Vieira Guidelli
Supervisor abroad: Dirk Inzé
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie (VIB), Belgium  
Associated to the scholarship:14/26521-0 - Going deeper into drought tolerance in sugarcane: molecular analysis of root responses, BP.DD

Abstract

Sugarcane is a crop of global economic importance due to its use in the manufacture of sugar and bioethanol. Drought is one of the main factors that reduce sugarcane productivity. Roots play an important role in maintenance of plant functions under stress conditions, and their properties have great influence on plant response to water scarcity. However, the knowledge on roots changes in response to drought is still limited even in model plants. Therefore, our major goal is to characterize the molecular basis of sugarcane root responses to drought stress. We used RNA-seq to evaluate how sugarcane roots modulate their transcriptome in response to drought stress. The new insights into the biochemical and molecular mechanisms we obtained allowed the selection of 10 genes that seems to be relevant in the root responses. So far we have obtained homozygous and single copy transgenic events for six genes that will be the focus of this research collaboration. Because drought responses are complex and highly dependent on the experimental conditions, we propose to continue our collaboration with Dr. Dirk Inzé, director of the VIB research center (Belgium). His group developed an automated platform that allows precise control of the levels of water deficit. Additionally, we will count on the collaboration of Dr. Tom Beeckman, also from VIB, that designed a platform to study Arabidopsis roots. The data obtained from this collaboration will help to select genes to be used in assays using transgenic sugarcane plants, aiming the development of sugarcane cultivars with higher tolerance to drought. (AU)