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Biology of xylogenesis, methane production and emission by eucalypt


The availability of new Omics technologies that enable the generation of a large amount of DNA sequence data, transcript quantification (messenger RNAs), microRNAs, identification and quantification of proteins and metabolites, have provided a rapid advance in the knowledge of plant biology, microorganisms and animals. However, despite this plethora of available information, we have not yet been able to analyze the data generated in an integrated, holistic way, without the descriptive character that characterizes most articles dealing with topics such as transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. The phenotype of an individual is a consequence of the integration of all these components and the interaction with the environment. The project proposal aims to advance the approach of systems biology seeking the integration of transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics data, to understand the biology of an important culture for the Brazilian economy, the eucalyptus. Eucalyptus was chosen as a biological model, due to the various works that our group has developed over the last few years, mainly on the biology of xylogenesis (wood formation), plant-pathogen interaction and responses to abiotic stresses. We intend to advance the understanding of the role that bark metabolism plays in the formation of eucalyptus wood, during the first years of growth. The low O2 pressure observed in the cambial region (hypoxia) leads to changes in the regulation of mitochondrial respiration, favoring the increase in the metabolism of glycolysis and alcoholic fermentation, to meet the high energy demand (ATP) and reducing power (NADH/NADPH), necessary for the rapid growth of eucalyptus. Allied to these phenomena, we have the corticular photosynthesis that occurs in the phloem (bark) and about which we know little, especially its importance for the growth of eucalyptus and the formation of wood. Another area of our interest concerns the emission of methane by eucalyptus. This topic is of great interest today, as it is known that forest trees in tropical regions and swamps produce and emit a significant amount of methane, whose origin is still poorly known. The extent and importance of methane emissions from eucalyptus trees is unknown in our conditions, especially in commercial plantations. In this regard, our interest is to measure the volume produced and the seasonality of these emissions, their origin, if endogenous, from the endophytic microbiota, present in the trunks and bark of the trees, or from the soil microbiota or from both sources, and if there is any metabolic process in the tree that could be the genesis of part of these emissions. To achieve these aims we will employ the integration of data from several Omics, using the regularized canonical correlation analysis (rCCA), which makes it possible to correlate two sets of data acquired in the same experimental units. With the integration of the data, it will be possible to analyze the biology of eucalyptus holistically, building interaction networks for each study situation, for example, identifying the main genes that regulate plant growth, wood formation, identify genes and proteins that are associated with methane emissions, among other matters of interest. The results of this project will make it possible to learn about the biology of eucalyptus, a tree that has a fast growth in tropical environments. (AU)

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