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Understanding the bacterial symbiosis in Cecropia-Azteca system using chemical and genetic tools

Grant number: 17/17305-0
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2017
Effective date (End): October 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Mônica Tallarico Pupo
Grantee:Taise Tomie Hebihara Fukuda
Supervisor abroad: Jon Christel Clardy
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto (FCFRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Local de pesquisa : Harvard University, Boston, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:15/26349-5 - Chemical and ecological study of microorganisms associated with the symbiosis Cecropia-Azteca, BP.DD

Abstract

Microorganisms associated with social insects have been extensively studied as sources of new chemical structures with antimicrobial activity; however, there are no reports in the literature about the secondary metabolites produced by microorganisms associated with the Cecropia-Azteca interaction. In an ongoing PhD project, seven strains of actinobacteria were isolated from Cecropia-Azteca samples collected in the Amazonian region. These strains showed inhibitory activity against different pathogens in ten antagonism assays. Actinobacteria are described in the literature as microorganisms with high potential for producing biologically active molecules; therefore, the isolated strains are promising for the discovery of new bioactive compounds. In order to understand the chemical ecology involved in this symbiosis, this research internship will be developed in partnership with Prof. Jon Clardy (Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, USA), who is a pioneer in studies involving the chemistry of insect microbial symbionts. To stimulate biosynthetic pathways that may be silenced, mixed cultures will be carried out with pathogens, and the extracts and their constituents will be investigated chemically and biologically. Lastly, the genome of the isolated actinobacteria will be sequenced and their biosynthetic potential will be studied and compared with chemical data.