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Chemical and molecular investigation of natural products involved in Penicillium brasilianum-hosts interactions

Grant number: 21/07038-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2026
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal researcher:Taicia Pacheco Fill
Grantee:Daniel Yuri Akiyama
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The search for new natural products with potent pharmacological activities has focused especially on microorganisms whose habitat is the internal tissues of plants. Given the rich microbiome of these tissues and the numerous biological interactions established in this community, microbial natural products have had their structures ""optimized"" over billions of years of evolution to correspond to particular biological functions, including endogenous defense mechanisms and communication with other microorganisms. However, while some microorganisms colonize their hosts without negative impacts to them, others lead to pathogenesis processes, leading to the development of diseases capable of devastating crops. What are the characteristics that differ the non-pathogenic and pathogenic behaviors of endophytic fungi? Are these interactions somehow regulated by natural products? In order to help answer these questions, this study aims to evaluate the role of natural products in the non-pathogenic interaction of Penicillium brasilianum LaBioMMi 136 and its host Melia Azedarach and the pathogenic interaction of P. brasilianum MG-11 and its host Allium cepa L.. Preliminary studies indicate genomic differences at the biosynthetic clusters level, allowing for differences in the metabolic profiles of each strain. In addition, metabolic analyses by mass spectrometry allowed the identification of ions produced only in the non-pathogenic strain and others exclusive to the pathogenic strain, indicating that natural products may be associated with virulence factors or with mediation of plant colonization without development of symptoms. In order to achieve these goals, chemical, molecular and genetic based experiments will be conducted. These studies will be invaluable for understanding plant-fungus interactions, pathogenesis and asymptomatic fungal colonization. The elucidation of the mechanisms involved in non-pathogenic and pathogenic endophytic associations would not only contribute to a fundamental understanding of biological systems, but would also be an important step towards developing strategies for the control of fungal infections. (AU)

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