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Characterization and analysis of differential expression pattern of genes involved in the phase transition in passion fruit (Passiflora spp.)

Grant number: 18/25242-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2022
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Carnier Dornelas
Grantee:Helena Augusto Gioppato
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The commercial species of passionfruit, named yellow passion fruit (Passiflora edulis var. flavicarpa), belongs to the genus Passiflora, which includes approximately 600 species originating in the American continent, most originated in South America. With an expressive production of almost 1 million tons, coming from about 50 thousand hectares, Brazil is the world's main producer of passionfruit, which have great economic importance. This importance is not only due to the fruits but also to the phytotherapic properties of its leaves, as well as its ecological importance. Also, plants of the genus Passiflora is a great model for phase transition studies, since there are evident morphological differences between plants in the juvenile phase, adult vegetative and adult reproductive phase. Despite the importance, the mechanisms of development and the reproductive biology of plants belonging to the genus Passiflora have not yet been fully clarified. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the molecular mechanisms involved in the transition to the reproductive phase comprising an order of interactions of the Flowering Locus T (FLT), LEAFY (LFY), Fruitfull (FUL), Apetala1 (AP1), and Terminal Flower 1 (TFL1). Also, the product of the FT gene (also called florigen) is responsible for activating the entire flowering pathway. The LFY, AP1, and FUL products promote floral meristem identity, whereas the TFL1 product is necessary for the maintenance of the inflorescence meristem identity, regulating the expression patterns of LFY and AP1. It is also known that in Arabidopsis, the expression of all these genes is regulated by environmental cues and hormones such as gibberellins and cytokinins. Therefore, the present proposal intends to morphologically characterize the phase transition under hormonal influence in P. edulis and P. organensis, to identify putative Passiflora orthologues to genes traditionally associated to phase transition and characterize their expression patterns under the influence of hormones and to identify putative Passiflora orthologues of genes involved in the biosynthesis of gibberellins and cytokinins and their signaling pathways during phase transition, molecular tools recently obtained by our group (with the support of FAPESP) such as the draft version of the P. organensis genome and P. edulis transcriptome, in association with microscopy techniques. Increasing the knowledge about phase transition in Passiflora might contribute to future breeding studies aiming the improvement of passionfruit production. (AU)