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Prospecting the Quinanomethide derivatives biossynthesis enzymes among biogeografical diverse sampling of Maytenus spp. (Celastraceae)

Grant number: 14/14067-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2014
Effective date (End): September 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Maysa Furlan
Grantee:Daniel Petinatti Pavarini
Host Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07600-3 - CIBFar - Center for Innovation in Biodiversity and Drug Discovery, AP.CEPID


Brazil holds the largest biodiversity around the globe. It is estimated that 15% of every described species occurs in our territory. The concept of biodiversity could be fully understood when we consider traits of both chemical and biological richness from living organisms metabolism which are attached to further concepts such as Biogeography and Onthogensis. Basically, Biogeography can be viewed as the field of knowledge which aims to understand geographical dispersion patterns of living organisms. Time-scale and evolutionary time lapse are pivotal for such studies. Knowledge that regards biogeographical dispersion is useful to predict natural products occurrence. Complementary, it is crucial to consider onthogenesis as determinant to biological phenomenons. It is known that particular biosynthesis pathways of secondary metabolites are under onthogenic control in several plant species. Maytenus ilicifolia(Celastraceae) is part of Brazilian Flora and tend to occur in denser populations at sub tropical climates. Commonly called "espinheira-santa", it is a folk medicine for several issues. The "Best Seller" of these medicines is the leaves infusion able of anti-ulcerogenic treatments due to a few number of phenolic compounds. Through the latest decades both the phytochemistry research and biological essays, employing a range of models of study, had shown that biosynthesis pathways are locally specific to some plants tissues. Root tissues of Maytenus ilicifolia, in particular the root bark, accumulate quinone methides. These compounds are results of oxireductase catalyzed reactions of friedelanic compounds, which are biosynthesized in leave tissues. Quinone methides are associated to several bioactive abilities of Maytenus spp. Nowadays chemists researchers are facing the need to use the pharmaceutical richness of Brazilian Flora in a sustainable fashion. It is towards the directions of such environmentally friend need and also synchronized with "synthetical biology oriented" research that we are here applying for a Post Doctoral project. We aim to prospect the key enzymes behind quinone methides biosynthesis in root systems of Maytenus spp. using diverse sampling of wild type plants. The data made available by CRIA (Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental) will lead us to a reliable assessment of several wild type Maytenus spp. species occurring in different biomes around Brazil. Hence, a genetic richness will be the source of our prospective research. Regarding the dynamic aspects of quinone methide biosynthesis in Maytenus spp. we intend to carry on phytochemistry search of quinano methide derivatives using analytical methods previously established at Dr. Furlan Group. The findings of our search will lead us to determine the current biosynthesis path operating. Additionally, the targeted proteomics study will be combined with the gene prospective probing in order to provide further information. We will proceed the screening of the genes encoding the enzymes of interest by using cDNA and gDNA from Maytenus spp. sampling. We are here applying for a Post Doctoral project development that has 2 goals: (1) To furnish the group data bank with potent quinone methide biosynthesizers sites of occurrence of wild type Maytenus spp. and clone its enzymes and (2) to enhance the acting of M.Sc. Daniel Pavarini in the field of knowledge of Chemical Ecology and Natural Products Biosynthesis.

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