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Development of a CRISPR/Cas9-based methodology for genome engineering in the fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa, the causative agent of witches' broom disease of cacao

Grant number: 14/06181-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2014
Effective date (End): February 29, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Gonçalo Amarante Guimarães Pereira
Grantee:Gabriel Lorencini Fiorin
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Cacao (Theobroma cacao) is a perennial crop of remarkable economic importance worldwide, being responsible for the generation of a considerable portion of national currency. The productivity of cacao farming in Brazil was high and provided great benefits to the country until the end of the 80s, when the witches' broom disease, caused by the basidiomycete Moniliophthora perniciosa, was introduced in cacao plantations of the main producing region of Brazil, southern Bahia. As a consequence, the local cocoa agribusiness was destroyed, driving Brazil from an exporter to an importer of cocoa and causing drastic social and environmental problems in the region. Traditional strategies to control the disease proved to be ineffective. Therefore, the understanding of this pathology became essential for the development of more appropriate programs to combat the disease. Important advances in this direction have been obtained with the witches' broom genome project and witches' broom disease transcriptome atlas, which have contributed for identification and functional analysis of multiple fungal pathogenicity-related factors. However, functional studies have been severely hampered by the lack of tools for genome engineering in Moniliophthora perniciosa, this being the main bottleneck in the current study of witches' broom. With this in mind, this project aims to establish a procedure for production of knockout strains of the fungus using the CRISPR - Cas9 system. For this, an inactivation cassette targeted to Mp-aox gene (which encode an alternative oxidase) will be prepared and used in the transformation of M. perniciosa. This gene has been well characterized by our group and tools for phenotypic screening in vitro are well established, allowing the validation of knockout strains in a simple and robust way. Once established, the procedure of genome edition in M. perniciosa may be used for the production of defective strains in numerous other genes of interest, providing a powerful tool for the study of factors involved in the pathogenicity of M. perniciosa. (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)
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; CARAZZOLLE, MARCELO F.; PEREIRA, GONCALO A. G.; BARONI, RENATA M. Adaptive evolution of Moniliophthora PR-1 proteins towards its pathogenic lifestyle. BMC ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, v. 21, n. 1 MAY 14 2021. Web of Science Citations: 0.
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 APR 20 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
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+, SEP 24 2018. Web of Science Citations: 5.
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: cdi@fapesp.br.