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Investigation of oxidative mechanisms involved on lignocellulosic biomass breakdown by the lower termite Coptotermes gestroi

Grant number: 15/06971-3
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2015
Effective date (End): February 29, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal researcher:Fábio Márcio Squina
Grantee:João Paulo Lourenço Franco Cairo
Supervisor abroad: Claus Felby
Home Institution: Centro Nacional de Pesquisa em Energia e Materiais (CNPEM). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Inovações (Brasil). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark  
Associated to the scholarship:11/20977-3 - Investigation of plant biomass conversion in termite Coptotermes gestroi complementary to glycosyl hydrolases aiming at bioproducts formation derived from lignocellulosic biomass., BP.DR


Termites are social insects that play fundamental roles in carbon cycling in tropical forests. They display labor division among their castes and are highly efficient at lignocellulose degradation. Recently, the literature has suggested that auxiliary redox mechanisms could occur in termites for plant biomass breakdown. Based on this hypothesis, we started in 2012 the PhD project to try to understand and investigate these redox mechanisms in the lower termite Coptotermes gestroi. In the last three years, literature has reported that Pro-oxidant, Antioxidant and Detoxification enzymes (PAD) could act in synergism with Glycoside Hydrolases (GHs) in termites, to hydrolyze lignocellulosic biomass. In our PhD study, we have discovered that beyond PADs, C. gestroi could also secrete genes and enzymes with high similarity with Auxiliary Activities enzymes (AAs) from CAZy database. In brown-rot fungi, these enzymes are related with generation of fenton components, which has been correlated to lignocellulose breakdown. Moreover, very recent data from this PhD Project has revealed that C. gestroi has the capacity to generate the redox components similar to fenton reaction, such as H2O2, Fe2+ and HO*. However, it is premature to suggest whether termites perform reactions similar to fenton chemistry in their gut. To validate our hypothesis further studies are needed. Therefore, in the last semester, we have conducted studies to verify if these redox components generated by C. gestroi could act to modify lignin and cellulose in a similar pattern to brown-rot fungi. Remarkably, we have obtained preliminary positive results, showing that C. gestroi's crude extract can perform modifications on lignin in a similar pattern to fenton components. Thus, the main objective from this BEPE is to further investigate if C. gestroi enzymes can promote oxidative mechanisms on lignocellulose biomasses. Furthermore, we will try to understand the contribution of endogenous PAD and AA enzymes on this phenomenon. (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)
BRENELLI, LIVIA B.; PERSINOTI, GABRIELA F.; FRANCO CAIRO, JOAO PAULO L.; LIBERATO, MARCELO V.; GONCALVES, THIAGO AUGUSTO; OTERO, IGOR V. R.; MAINARDI, PEDRO H.; FELBY, CLAUS; SETTE, LARA D.; SQUINA, FABIO M.. Novel redox-active enzymes for ligninolytic applications revealed from multiomics analyses of Peniophora sp. CBMAI 1063, a laccase hyper-producer strain. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 9, . (13/03061-0, 13/19486-0, 15/07008-2, 14/04105-4, 16/09950-0, 15/06971-3, 15/50590-4, 17/16089-1)
FRANCO CAIRO, JOAO P. L.; CARAZZOLLE, MARCELO F.; LEONARDO, FLAVIA C.; MOFATTO, LUCIANA S.; BRENELLI, LIVIA B.; GONCALVES, THIAGO A.; UCHIMA, CRISTIANE A.; DOMINGUES, ROMANIA R.; ALVAREZ, THABATA M.; TRAMONTINA, ROBSON; et al. Expanding the Knowledge on Lignocellulolytic and Redox Enzymes of Worker and Soldier Castes from the Lower Termite Coptotermes gestroi. FRONTIERS IN MICROBIOLOGY, v. 7, . (12/19040-0, 13/03061-0, 15/06971-3, 14/10351-8, 11/20977-3, 08/58037-9, 10/11469-1, 14/50371-8, 14/20576-7)

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