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Molecular investigation of genes involved in the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds by cyanobacterial strains isolated from the Brazilian semi-arid region

Grant number: 14/24066-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2015
Effective date (End): January 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology - Ecosystems Ecology
Principal Investigator:Adriana Sturion Lorenzi
Grantee:Gustavo Fiod Affonso
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/15296-2 - Comparative metagenomics of cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater reservoirs from Pernambuco State, AP.JP


Blooms of toxic cyanobacteria in aquatic ecosystems from the northeastern region of Brazil are frequent due to their nutrient-enriched conditions coupled with high -temperature and -water residence time. Among the cyanotoxins reported recently in these water bodies are the widespread microcystins (MC) and cylindrospermopsins (CYN). As efforts are geared toward the prediction of the occurrence of toxic cyanobacterial blooms in these environments, the utilization of molecular markers has been increasingly encouraged. This is because cyanotoxins represent a serious risk to human and animal health. However, some cyanobacterial genera can also produce bioactive substances of biotechnological and/or pharmaceutical interests, such as aeruginosin and cyanopeptolin protease inhibitors. Due to the lack of molecular studies on aquatic ecosystems from the semi-arid region of Brazil, this study aims to evaluate the potential for the biosynthesis of cyanotoxins (microcystins, cylindrospermopsins, saxitoxins and anatoxins) and protease inhibitors (aeruginosins and cyanopeptolins) from cyanobacterial strains isolated from aquatic environments of Pernambuco State, northeastern Brazil. To this end, PCR amplification of the mcyE, cyrJ, sxtA and AnaC genes will be performed on genomic DNA to investigate their potential for the biosynthesis of microcystins, cylindrospermopsins, saxitoxins and anatoxins, respectively. In addition, to assess the potential of these strains for biotechnological and/or pharmacological applications, the genomic DNA will be used for PCR amplification of the aerA-aerB and mcnC-mcnE regions of aeruginosins and cyanopeptolins synthetases, respectively.

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