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Development of transgenic sugarcane resistant to Migdolus fryanus insect


The cultivation of sugar cane has an important role in the Brazilian economy, mainly due to its production potential and its by products such as sugar and ethanol. This set of features makes this one of the most important activities of the national agribusiness. However, it is common the occurrence of some factors that influence in productivity decline causing damage to the sugarcane sector. Among these factors is the attack of the sugarcane insect pests. The insect Migdolus fryanus is among the pests that cause most damage in the culture of sugarcane. The larva of the insect feeds on the rhizome of the plant, causing reduced productivity and death of plants. Due to the lack of an efficient method of control this pest, studies directed towards the development of plants resistant to Migdolus fryanus are necessary. The use of protease inhibitors in the development of transgenic plants is an approach that has been widely used for pest control. These protease inhibitors have been demonstrated to inhibit proteases present in the insect gut. Thus, this project aims to identify Migdolus fryanus proteases that can be used as a target for protease inhibitors. Thus, it is intended to purify the target proteases and inhibition studies the activity of these proteases in vitro will be performed using cystatins, inhibitors of cysteine proteases, and serine protease inhibitors, both isolated from sugarcane. Inhibitors for specific proteases from Migdolus fryanus will be selected and used in the development of transgenic sugarcane. Inhibitors to be used for genetic modification will be selected based on their inhibitory activity against digestive proteases from Migdolus fryanus, and their genes inserted into sugarcane through genetic transformation. (AU)

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