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Identification of genes from endophytic fungi Epicoccum purpurascens and Epicoccum sp. involved in the biosynthesis of antimicrobial compounds

Grant number: 11/06870-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2011
Effective date (End): October 31, 2012
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Welington Luiz de Araújo
Grantee:Juan Diego Rojas
Host Institution: Universidade de Mogi das Cruzes (UMC). Campus da Sede Mogi das Cruzes. Mogi das Cruzes , SP, Brazil


In recent years, the interest in endophytic fungi as a prolific source of new species and also because of its potential uses in biological control and production of secondary metabolites with different biological activities has increased significantly. Despite the increasing discovery of new compounds from endophytic fungi, there is a huge gap in knowledge of biosynthetic pathways for the production of bioactive metabolites. The vast majority of endophytes that produce new compounds have no efficient systems for genetic manipulation. Since the use of genome mining approaches has led to the discovery of new molecules in different microorganisms, the application of this technology to endophytic fungi allowing the expanding the metabolic potential of these organisms. Previous studies have shown that the fungus Epicoccum purpurascens is commonly isolated as endophytic in sugarcane and an extensive genetic variation can be found among isolates from a single location and host. This fungus is known for its uses as biological control agent and production of a range of secondary metabolites with high biotechnological value. In this context, this project proposes to identify potential genes and metabolic pathways related to the biosynthesis of antimicrobial metabolites from endophytic fungi E. purpurascens e Epicoccum sp. and determine the identity of the compounds. Additionally, this project aim to sequence the genome of E. purpurascens and compare identified genes and metabolic pathways with the pathways and genes associated to bioactive compounds. Knowledge on the biosynthesis genes and their regulation could provide important information of the ecological role of fungal secondary metabolites. Furthermore, investigations of fungal secondary metabolites genes and their expression could set the basis for improving metabolite production and engineering the biosynthetic machinery with the aim to synthesize new compounds.

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