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Expanding the comprehension of molecular responses to salinity in the extremophile Schrenkiella parvula through global gene co-expression networks

Grant number: 22/04059-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Ecology
Principal Investigator:Anete Pereira de Souza
Grantee:Michele Fernandes da Silva
Supervisor: Maheshi Dassanayake
Host Institution: Centro de Biologia Molecular e Engenharia Genética (CBMEG). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: Louisiana State University (LSU), United States  
Associated to the scholarship:20/00203-2 - Contribution of environmental, geographic and land use and coverage variables to the genetic diversity of Avicennia germinans and Avicennia schaueriana, BP.DD


Soil salinity is a major environmental stressor that restricts the growth and yield of most plants. Understanding the molecular responses associated with salt tolerance will be extremely important in light of the growing demand for food crops and bioenergy. Distributed on the shores of Lake Tuz, Turkey, where soils accumulate high concentrations of multiple-ion salts, Schrenkiella parvula is a robust salt-tolerant extreme model for investigating multiple environmental stresses. In recent years, fundamental genomic resources have been created for S. parvula and, although several studies have highlighted important saline stress-responsive agents, additional strategies are needed to identify systemic processes of gene interactions. In this context, RNA-Seq based gene co-expression networks represent a powerful tool to infer novel interactions between genes with similar expression patterns biologically relevant to a specific phenotype. Therefore, using data from RNA-Seq experiments generated by Prof. Dassanayake, we propose the construction of a global gene co-expression network as a tool for the identification and better understanding of new gene interactions involved in the salinity response of the extremophile S. parvula. From previously identified differentially expressed genes, we intend to select the gene modules associated and identify the main genes and metabolic pathways that govern the saline stress response. The understanding of these mechanisms would not only bring substantial contributions to the improvement of food crops, but would also allow us to advance our knowledge about the adaptive evolution of extremophile plants, especially in the face of global climate change. (AU)

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