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Understanding the molecular system of degradation and utilization of cellulose by the phytopathogen Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri

Grant number: 18/03724-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2018
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Biochemistry
Principal Investigator:Mário Tyago Murakami
Grantee:José Alberto Diogo
Home Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil


The genus Xanthomonas is composed of gram-negative bacteria capable of infecting different plant species, many of them of great economic and social importance, such as rice and orange. Brazil as the second largest producer of citrus fruits in the world for decades is concerned with Citrus Canker disease, caused by the presence of the bacterium Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri, which has harmful potential to this crop, due to be present in the country the ideal conditions for the development of the disease and the lack of effective strategies in its fight.The ease with which this pathogen is disseminated and installed in the host has aroused the interest of studies aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of infection. These involve the secretion of enzymes for degradation of the cell wall, among them Glycosidic Hydrolases (GHs), such as cellulases. The species Xanthomonas citri has in its genome a high number of GHs in relation to other species of the genus, suggesting the use of different enzymes and strategies to dismantle the cell wall during the colonization of the host. Thus, the metabolic apparatus of X. citri shows a potential field to be explored to prospect for new enzymes and to understand their functional and structural factors, such as the elucidation of biochemical processes in the plant-pathogen interaction. Thus, the present project proposes to explore and better understand the cellulolytic system of X. citri subsp. citri through the study of five endocellulases, revealing their structural, mechanistic and functional aspects, and their role in the virulence and development of this phytopathogen. (AU)