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A systemic view of phenolic and lignin metabolism in the model grass Setaria viridis

Grant number: 23/11316-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): March 11, 2024
Effective date (End): March 10, 2025
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Botany - Pant Physiology
Principal Investigator:Igor Cesarino
Grantee:Leydson Gabriel Alves de Lima
Supervisor: Alisdair R. Fernie
Host Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Max Planck Society, Potsdam, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:22/09003-1 - A systemic view of phenolic and lignin metabolism in the model grass Setaria viridis, BP.DD


Plant biomass is mainly composed of secondary cell walls enriched with polysaccharides and aromatics and constitutes a promising source of monomeric building blocks to produce biofuels and biomaterials. However, biomass processing is hampered by the complex structure and composition of secondary walls, a fact known as biomass recalcitrance. The main recalcitrance factor is the presence of the phenolic polymer lignin. Therefore, the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms involved in phenolic and lignin metabolism is essential to leverage the use of plant biomass as feedstock in the bioeconomy. In this context, C4 grasses are considered promising crops due to their high yield in biomass production. The objective of my PhD project is to use the model plant Setaria viridis to deepen the knowledge on phenolic/lignin metabolism in C4 grasses using a systems approach based on large-scale transcriptomics and untargeted metabolomics, in addition to the functional characterization of a MYB transcription factor potentially involved in the regulation of lignin deposition. Here, we propose a BEPE metabolomics project divided into two main objectives to help achieving the goals of my PhD project. First, the establishment of a metabolic map of different organs of S. viridis focused on phenylpropanoids using mass spectrometry. Second, the metabolic profiling of S. viridis transgenic lines misregulated the target MYB transcription factor, as part of the multi-level phenotyping of the transgenic S. viridis plants. The proposed strategies will allow the elucidation of new aspects of phenolic and lignin metabolism in C4 grasses, as well as the validation of potential biotechnological strategies to reduce biomass recalcitrance. (AU)

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