Secondary metabolites (SMs) are constituents of plants and animals that perform important functions of adaptation and survival in the ecosystems. In plants, SMs are found mainly angiosperms playing roles in defence, physiology, chemical communication among others. Chemosystematics is the branch of the chemistry of natural products responsible for understanding the function, evolution and systematics of these secondary metabolites. Over the last century, several hypotheses have been proposed for SMs, including a lack of secretory system in plants, co-evolution (plant-insect), nutrients availability, enzymatic promiscuity and differential canalization of biosynthetic pathways. However, there is no consensus on the function and evolution of the SMs in angiosperms phylogeny. In this sense, the project aims to use large databases of natural products combined with plant traits (foliar economic spectrum) and data mining to better understand the functioning of SMs in the ecological and evolutionary context.1. Intellectual merit: traditionally the chemistry of natural products has used specific classes of natural products to evaluate the function and evolution of SMs in angiosperms, neglecting a whole set of metabolites fundamental to the physiological and ecological understanding of these organisms. Natural product databases progressively have increased the number of metabolites as a result of post-genomic approaches (plant metabolomics). Also, plant traits databases have systematically increased the trait records (2100 traits) for more 160,000 plant taxa. However, this unprecedented amount of data remains unexplored in terms of the ecological function and evolution of the SMs. Thus, this project aims to combine the characteristics data of plants and databases of SM using semantic networks and multivariate statistical approaches to predict possible functionalities of SM in angiosperms.2. Impact: Considering the paradigm of food supply, biodiversity loss and global climate change, understanding the function and evolution of SM is essential to estimate how these compounds affect plant survival strategies and, consequently, to support research related to crop improvement as well as programs in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.3. Integration: the present proposal involves an international collaboration of researchers and universities from different knowledge areas aiming: correlate multidisciplinary abilities (plant metabolomics, ecology and databases); expand collaboration network in ecological studies and consequently the quality of scientific publications.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ALAN C. PILON;
DENISE M. SELEGATO;
RICHARD P. FERNANDES;
PAULA C. P. BUENO;
DANIELLE R. PINHO;
FAUSTO CARNEVALE NETO;
RAFAEL T. FREIRE;
VANDERLAN S. BOLZANI;
NORBERTO P. LOPES.
METABOLÔMICA DE PLANTAS: MÉTODOS E DESAFIOS.
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