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Diversity of natural product biosynthetic gene clusters in antarctic microbiomes through genome-centric analysis

Grant number: 22/15112-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 08, 2023
Effective date (End): May 07, 2024
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Molecular Genetics and Genetics of Microorganisms
Principal Investigator:Valeria Maia Merzel
Grantee:William Bartolomeu de Medeiros
Supervisor: Nadine Ziemert
Host Institution: Centro Pluridisciplinar de Pesquisas Químicas, Biológicas e Agrícolas (CPQBA). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Paulínia , SP, Brazil
Research place: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:20/11534-0 - Diversity and Distribution Patterns of Biosynthetic Genes of Natural Products in Microbiomes of Antarctica, BP.DR


Microorganisms inhabiting extreme environments are supposed to encode secondary metabolites as a survival strategy for thriving under harsh environmental conditions. Such environments harbor an unexplored potential for the discovery of new chemical compounds which could lead to new drugs. Antarctic environments have been particularly overlooked and the biosynthetic potential of soil microbial communities from the Antarctic Peninsula has been under-explored. During the development of the current project (FAPESP 2020/11534-0), we described the diversity of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) along spatial and temporal gradients in Whalers Bay soil in Deception Island - Antarctica using sequence-based analyses. These findings shed light on the vast potential for secondary metabolites biosynthesis in soil microbial communities from Whalers Bay. However, the identified BGCs are often not complete and only a very small fraction of the short read sequence data can be assembled into contigs long enough to allow the identification of BGC classes. Here, we propose a joint project between the research group in the Microbial Resources Division of the Research Center for Chemistry, Biology, and Agriculture (CPQBA) of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and the Translational Genome Mining for Natural Products of the University of Tübingen (Germany). Under the joint supervision of Prof. Dr. Valéria de Oliveira and Prof. Dr. Nadine Ziemert, we will identify natural product biosynthetic gene clusters, evaluate their distribution in the environment, and prioritize biosynthetic genes with the potential to exhibit novelty bioactive function through genome-based analysis. (AU)

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