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Functional analysis of the SlUACA gene potentially associated with resistance to Moniliophthora perniciosa, which causes the witches' broom disease in cacao, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cv. Micro Tone

Grant number: 19/25326-2
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2020
Effective date (End): April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Antonio Vargas de Oliveira Figueira
Grantee:Bárbara Gonçalves Silva
Host Institution: Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/10498-4 - Investigation of strategies of adaptation to the pathogenic life style of fungi from the Moniliophthora genus at various levels of biological organizations: species, biotypes, and geographic lineages, AP.TEM


"Witche's broom" is the main disease affecting cacao (Theobroma cacao), limiting cocoa production in South America and the Caribbean. The basidiomycete fungus Moniliophthora perniciosa, the etiologic agent of the disease, has a hemibiotropic lifestyle with a long and peculiar biotrophic period, causing the symptoms of swelling and induction of lateral shoots in the infected branches. The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cv. 'Micro-Tom' (MT) has been shown to be a suitable genetic model for the study of interaction with the M. perniciosa S-biotype, showing the characteristic symptoms of infection, as well as intrinsic characteristics, such as the availability of an optimized transformation protocol. genetics, overcoming the biological difficulties of analysis in cacao. The investigation of genes via functional analysis is fundamental to the understanding of the pathogenicity mechanisms of M. perniciosa and the host defense mechanisms in search of resistance elements. Obtaining cacao cultivars resistant to infection is the most effective long-term measure to reduce the impacts of the disease. From the identification of an apoptotic gene UVEAL AUTOANTIGEN WITH COILED-COIL DOMAINS AND ANKYRIN REPEATS (candidate gene associated with resistance in cacao), functional analysis of this gene is necessary to verify its resistance potential, crucial for future implementation. of resistant cacao cultivars. The purpose of this project is to functionally analyze SlUACA, and to elucidate its role in witch broom resistance.

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