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Functional characterization of a chitinase-like protein of Moniliophthora perniciosa with a potential role in fungal pathogenicity during the development of the witches' broom disease of cacao

Grant number: 13/09878-9
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 30, 2013
Effective date (End): August 29, 2013
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal researcher:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Grantee:Gabriel Lorencini Fiorin
Supervisor abroad: Bart P. H. J. Thomma
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Wageningen University, Netherlands  
Associated to the scholarship:11/23315-1 - Functional characterization of a chitinase-like protein of Moniliophthora perniciosa with a potential role in fungal pathogenicity during the development of the witches' broom disease of cacao., BP.IC

Abstract

Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) is a tradicional product of the Brazilian agriculture, being responsible for the generation of a considerable portion of national currency. Since the end of the 1980s, the productivity of cacao farming in Brazil decreased drastically due to the introduction of witches' broom disease in southern Bahia, the main producing area of the country. The severity of the economic and environmental problems triggered by this pathology has stimulated initiatives aiming at a more detailed comprehension of the interaction between cacao and Moniliophthora perniciosa, the basidiomycete that causes the disease. Important advances in this regard have been achieved with the Witches' broom Genome Project. Additionally the Witches' broom Disease Transcriptome Atlas was launched in 2010 and a first inspection of this database led to the identification of a fungal chitinase gene (Mp-Chi) that is highly and exclusively expressed during the M. perniciosa interaction with cacao. Strikingly, the encoded enzyme has an amino acid substitution in its catalytic site that presumably leads to the lack of chitinolytic activity, despite the conservation of its chitin-binding site. Considering these characteristics, we propose that this protein acts as a protective mechanism of M. perniciosa against hydrolytic enzymes produced by the infected plant by binding to the fungal cell wall and blocking the action of the host lytic arsenal. To evaluate this hypothesis we initiated the Scientific Initiation project to which the present proposal is associated. Through chitinolytic assays and carbohydrate affinity precipitation experiments, we demonstrated that this chitinase does not have hydrolytic activity, but retains its ability of binding to chitin. Such results sustain the proposed hypothesis for the function of Mp-Chi. However, further functional assays with the protein are required to validate our working model. In face of the experimental limitations to perform such assays in our laboratory, we request a three-month fellowship (BEPE), to perform functional experiments with the Mp-Chi protein in the Laboratory of Phytopathology, situated at the Wageningen University, The Netherlands. The association with the dutch research group, headed by Dr. Bart Thomma, who is an expert on the characterization of plant pathogenic fungal effectors, will allow a detailed and careful evaluation of the biological role of this M. perniciosa chitinase. This collaboration is of major importance to our project and will aggregate novel and significant expertise to the candidate. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
FIORIN, GABRIEL LORENCINI; SANCHEZ-VALLET, ANDREA; DE TOLEDO THOMAZELLA, DANIELA PAULA; VITAL DO PRADO, PAULA FAVORETTI; DO NASCIMENTO, LEANDRO COSTA; DE OLIVEIRA FIGUEIRA, ANTONIO VARGAS; THOMMA, BART P. H. J.; GUIMARAES PEREIRA, GONCALO AMARANTE; PEREIRA LIMA TEIXEIRA, PAULO JOSE. Suppression of Plant Immunity by Fungal Chitinase-like Effectors. Current Biology, v. 28, n. 18, p. 3023+, . (11/23315-1, 16/10498-4, 14/06181-0, 09/50119-9, 13/09878-9)
VASCONCELOS, ADRIELLE A.; JOSE, JULIANA; TOKIMATU, PAULO M.; CAMARGO, ANTONIO P.; TEIXEIRA, PAULO J. P. L.; THOMAZELLA, DANIELA P. T.; DO PRADO, V, PAULA F.; FIORIN, GABRIEL L.; COSTA, JULIANA L.; FIGUEIRA, ANTONIO; et al. Adaptive evolution of Moniliophthora PR-1 proteins towards its pathogenic lifestyle. BMC ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, v. 21, n. 1, . (16/10498-4, 18/04240-0, 14/06181-0, 13/09878-9, 13/08293-7, 17/13015-7, 14/00802-2, 17/13319-6, 13/05979-5, 13/04309-6, 11/23315-1)
FIORIN, GABRIEL L.; SANCHEZ-VALLET, ANDREA; THOMMA, BART P. H. J.; PEREIRA, GONCALO A. G.; TEIXEIRA, PAULO J. P. L.. MAMP-triggered Medium Alkalinization of Plant Cell Cultures. BIO-PROTOCOL, v. 10, n. 8, . (13/09878-9, 09/50119-9, 11/23315-1, 14/06181-0)

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