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Functional analysis of MADS Box proteins in Passiflora edulis (Passifloraceae)

Grant number: 09/18346-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2010
Effective date (End): October 31, 2011
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Crop Science
Principal Investigator:Adriana Pinheiro Martinelli
Grantee:Priscilla de Barros Rossetto
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


During the evolution of angiosperms, some structures related to the attraction of pollinators were incorporated into the reproductive organs, resulting in innovations that have improved floral reproduction. Passiflora is an example of floral diversity and complexity. In this context, this work aims to study the genetic control of floral development in passion fruit working towards an understanding of floral evolution in the genus with emphasis on morphological changes that led to adaptations to different pollinators. Thus, this project aims to clarify the role of genes of the MADS Box family in Passiflora edulis by following these steps: i) identifying genes of the MADS box family in passionfruit using data available from the project PASSIOMA; ii) characterization of the expression pattern of MADS Box genes by RT-PCR in different tissues, iii) localization of the expression of MADS Box genes selected preferentially expressed in flowers by in situ hybridization; iv) analysis of the function of selected genes by the construction of transgenic plants with gene silencing and/or overexpression and subsequent analysis of their phenotype. The characterization of the expression pattern of these genes, and the expression timing, will allow us to infer their role in the development of floral organs. These assumptions will be confirmed by observations of phenotypes in genetically modified plants which overexpress or have the expression of a specific gene gene decreased by the RNAi method. A better knowledge about the role of MADS box genes in Passiflora development is essential for a better understanding of floral development in this genus and its evolution. Keywords: flower development, MADS Box proteins, passion fruit, RT PCR, in situ hybridization, plant genetic transformation

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