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Natural products involved in the symbiosis between Amycolatopsis and attine ants

Grant number: 18/17502-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2019
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal researcher:Mônica Tallarico Pupo
Grantee:Camila Fiori Pereira
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto (FCFRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/50954-0 - Novel therapeutic agents from the bacterial symbionts of Brazilian invertebrates, AP.BTA.TEM

Abstract

Natural products play an important role in the discovery of new drugs approved for cancer and infectious diseases therapy. Microorganisms stand out in the biosynthesis of active metabolites because they interact constantly with other living organisms in nature. They adapt their metabolism to the environmental changes by producing compounds that help in their survival. Microbial secondary metabolites also guarantee evolutionary advantages to host organisms such as plants, insects, and animals, which frequently live in symbiotic relationships with microorganisms. An example of interaction is the symbiosis between the ants of the Attini tribe, the cultivar fungus (food fungus), the pathogenic fungus (Escovopsis) and actinobacteria. Actinobacteria are usually present in the exoskeleton of the ants and help in the protection of the colony, once they produce antimicrobial secondary metabolites that selectively inhibit the growth of Escovopsis. The genera of actinobacteria associated with ants include Pseudonocardia, Streptomyces, and Amycolatopsis. Most studies have investigated mainly the compounds produced by Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces, while the chemical potential of Amycolatopsis in this association is poorly studied. However, studies with Amycolatopsis isolated from other sources, such as soil, have already led to the discovery of new biologically active natural products. Thus, the present project aims to study the metabolites produced by the strains of Amycolatopsis sp. ICBG1013 and ICBGSID1114 isolated from attine ants collected in the Amazonian region, in order to identify and characterize compounds with antifungal, antibiotic and/or antiparasitic action. The project is based on previous studies of our research group showing that extracts of both strains have an excellent inhibitory activity against the parasite Leishmania donovani. Therefore, these strains have potential for the production of promising compounds for therapeutic applications. (AU)