Advanced search
Start date

Chemical and biological studies of symbiotic bacteria isolated from Atta sexdens rubropilosa

Grant number: 14/24330-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 29, 2016
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Mônica Tallarico Pupo
Grantee:Eduardo Afonso da Silva Junior
Supervisor: Jon Clardy
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas de Ribeirão Preto (FCFRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Research place: Harvard University, Boston, United States  
Associated to the scholarship:12/24204-1 - Natural products involved in chemical and biological interactions of microorganisms associated to nests of the leaf-cutting ants Atta sexdens rubropilosa, BP.DR


The leaf-cutting ants provide fresh plant material for fungi that they cultivate for food in gardens inside their nests. These ants have associated with bacteria that produce antibiotics to protect their colonies against invaders. The natural products produced by these bacteria were selected by ants during thousands of years of evolution and may be useful for drug discovery. In this ongoing PhD project, we have found that the leaf-cutting ants Atta sexdens rubropilosa are associated with symbiotic bacteria of the genus Burkholderia sp. that produces unidentified antibiotics. Beyond that, Serratia marcescens 3FLB2 strains isolated from ants' bodies produce pyrazines similar with A. sexdens rubropilosa's trail pheromone. These bacteria can produce compounds involved in the chemical communication between these ants in a new kind of symbiosis. The main objectives of the sandwich doctorate at Jon Clardy's laboratory at Harvard Medical School will be: the isolation of bacterial antibiotics and the study of the biosynthetic pathways involved in the production of pyrazines in order to elucidate the biosynthesis of the trail pheromone. For this, the metabolites produced by Burkholderia sp. will be isolated, its antibiotic activities will be evaluated, and the genome of S. marcescens 3FLB2 will be sequenced. The internship at Harvard Medical School is in concordance to FAPESP PhD project. It will be important to further explore the PhD student results obtained in Brazil and to learn chemical biology methodologies. (AU)

News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
More itemsLess items

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)
SILVA-JUNIOR, EDUARDO A.; RUZZINI, ANTONIO C.; PALUDO, CAMILA R.; NASCIMENTO, FABIO S.; CURRIE, CAMERON R.; CLARDY, JON; PUPO, MONICA T.. Pyrazines from bacteria and ants: convergent chemistry within an ecological niche. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 8, . (12/22487-6, 12/24204-1, 15/25301-9, 14/24330-2, 13/50954-0, 13/04092-7)

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: