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Mycoparasitism in the attine ant fungiculture: host competition in multiple infections

Grant number: 19/23391-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2019
Effective date (End): November 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology
Cooperation agreement: NSF - Dimensions of Biodiversity and BIOTA
Principal Investigator:André Rodrigues
Grantee:Enzo Roberto Sorrentino
Home Institution: Centro de Estudos de Insetos Sociais (CEIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Rio Claro. Rio Claro , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/03746-0 - Collaborative research: Dimensions US-São Paulo: integrating phylogeny, genetics, and chemical ecology to unravel the tangled bank of the multipartite fungus-farming ant symbiosis, AP.BTA.TEM

Abstract

Parasites have a metabolic and structural arsenal that can overcome the defensive host barriers. In the fungiculture of the fungus-growing ants, fungi in the genus Escovopsis are considered specialized parasites of the basidiomycetous fungus cultivated for food by the ants. Different Escovopsis strains are found in the same ant colony; however, interactions between strains in competition for the same resource are still poorly understood. Competition favors gene flow and the establishment of refined strategies to provide resources for survival. Considering the fungiculture of the ant Mycocepurus goeldii as a model system, we intent to describe whether there is interference competition (through secretion of metabolites) between different Escovopsis strains against the same fungal cultivar host. (AU)