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Identification of transcription factors that regulate PIF3 in sugarcane (Saccharum spp.)

Grant number: 18/04619-9
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2018
Effective date (End): December 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Plant Genetics
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Marcelo Menossi Teixeira
Grantee:Aline Yochikawa
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Phytochrome-interacting factors (PIFs) are a small subset of transcription factors of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) subfamily, which function as a cellular signalling hub that integrates multiple signals to regulate plant morphogenesis. In general, they repress seed germination, promote seedling skotomorphogenesis and promote shade-avoidance response by regulating expression of different genes. Additionally, it has been shown that PIFs interact with components of the circadian clock central loop, which comprises a network of feedback-loops that increases plant productivity and fitness. The physiological importance of PIFs and the circadian clock have been well described in Arabidopsis thaliana, but little is known in crops. Sugarcane is a high-yielding crop with high economic value worldwide because it is possible to extract both sugar and bioethanol, a renewable source of energy. Since Brazil is the largest producer of sugarcane in the world, increasing its biomass productivity is of high interest. PIFs are potential targets for genetic improvement of sugarcane varieties due to their central role in plant development, however information regarding its expression profile in sugarcane is unknown so far. Here we aim to identify PIF genes in sugarcane and determine their expression profile in different tissues and time-points throughout the day. Finally, we will identify the transcription factors that control the expression of PIF3 by yeast-one-hybrid (Y1H) assays from cDNA libraries collected during the day and at night. This research project will provide valuable information about how PIFs control sugarcane development and the role the circadian clock plays on PIFs expression. Moreover, in our exploratory Y1H assays, we anticipate that we might find clock-related transcription factors regulating PIF3 expression, and other factors yet to be described that regulate PIFs expression. (AU)

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