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Unraveling the role of protein secretion systems in plant growth promotion by Pantoea agglomerans 33.1

Grant number: 21/04834-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2022
Effective date (End): June 01, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Maria Carolina Quecine Verdi
Grantee:Aline Aparecida Oliveira Ferreira
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):22/07666-3 - The ecological role of protein secretion systems from Pantoea agglomerans 33.1 in the soil bacterial community modulation, BE.EP.MS


Bacteria use different strategies to ensure their own survival and to colonize their hosts. Many Gram-negative bacteria that are mutualist or pathogen use the Protein Secretion Systems (PSSs) to transport proteins and interact with the environment, with other bacteria or even with other eukaryotic organisms. Pantoea agglomerans is a cosmopolitan Gram-negative bacterium with a wide range of metabolic diversity. This diversity reflects in the different environments and hosts in which it can be found: plants, soils, animals and water. In general, P. agglomerans has been described as beneficial to several plants, acting in the promotion of plant growth and in the control of phytopathogens. However, some pathovars are causal agents of disease in some crops, thus evidencing the complexity in the classification and understanding of the biology of this specie at the molecular level. As an exemple, the strain P. agglomerans 33.1, endophytically isolated from Eucalyptus grandis, can promote plant growth in several crops. Despite the agronomic importance of P. agglomerans, molecular studies regarding their mechanisms of interaction with plant are incipient and since most studies investigating PSSs focus on pathogenic bacteria, little is known about the role of these systems in beneficial bacteria. Thus, this research project aims to sequence, assemble and annotate the genome of the P. agglomerans 33.1 strain; explore its genome and compare its PSSs with other strains; and, finally, through the use of the CRISPR-Cas9 technique, to evaluate the effect of the knockout of PSSs target genes in the interaction of this bacterium with the plant and with the microorganisms in the community. The results obtained in this study will contribute to the understanding of the biology of this strain as a growth promoter, as well as the relevance of P. agglomerans PSS in its interaction with the environment. (AU)

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