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Latest News

  • With equipment of last generation, scientists linked to FAPESP Program for Research on Bioenergy (BIOEN) begin to decipher genome of sugar cane. Read the news Pontapé inicial (Authorship: Agência FAPESP).

Overview

Coordinator: Marcio Silva Filho (click here to see the team)

 
SUMMARY
 

In our lab we are interested in two major research areas:

1) intracellular protein trafficking and,

2) plant-herbivore interactions.

These topics have been successfully established over the years and we've obtained international recognition for our research. Our contribution to these fields can be seen in international peer-reviewed journals and also as a referee to world-class journals and national/international funding agencies. A Thematic Project that will be merged to the new BIOEN project, based on Plant-herbivore interactions, currently funds intracellular protein trafficking work. Thus, all the aims of the intracellular protein translocation project will be kept but will not be related to the BIOEN initiative.

Plant-herbivore interaction is a dynamic system, subjected to continual variation and change. Plants developed different mechanisms to reduce insect attack, including specific responses that activate different metabolic pathways that considerably alter their chemical and physical aspects. On the other hand, insects developed several strategies to overcome plant defense barriers, allowing them to feed, grow and reproduce on their host plants. This project tries to address important aspects of this complex interaction between sugarcane and herbivore insects, by using different approaches, including:

1) characterization of sugarcane response to major insect pests,

2) understanding the molecular adaptive mechanisms of sugarcane pests,

3) high-throughput gene expression analyses of sugarcane proteinase inhibitors (PI) and serine-proteinases (SP) in response to herbivory by the sugarcane borer (Diatraea saccharalis),

4) subcellular localization of PIs and SPs,

5) characterization of the pool of the giant borer Telchin licus licus (Drury) digestive proteinases aiming to block them with the use of proteinase inhibitors, and

6) Use of Physcomitrella patens as a model for understanding plant response to wounding and other organisms.

Research

Plant-Insect Interactions


In the preset work, plant-insect interaction is investigated as a dynamic system, subjected to continual variation and change. Plants developed different mechanisms to reduce insect attack, including specific responses that activate different metabolic pathways which considerably alter their chemical and physical aspects. On the other hand, insects developed several strategies to overcome plant defense barriers, allowing them to feed, grow and reproduce on their host plants. Our work foccuses on several aspects of this complex interaction between plants and insects, including characterisation of plant defense strategies, isolation of insect-induced sugarcane promoters and finally, the characterisation of insect genes involved in adaptation to plant defenses.


Publications (last 5 years)

  • Mello MO, Fernandez JH, Galgaro ML, Tanaka AS, Gleddie S, Neshich G, Silva-Filho MC (2004) Phage-display of Bowman-Birk proteinase inhibitor derivatives: molecular mechanisms of trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibition. (Submitted)

     

  • Martinelli S, Barata RM, Zucchi, MI, Silva-Filho, MC, Omoto C (2004) Molecular variability of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) populations from Brazil. (Submitted)

     

  • Pompermayer P, Falco MC, Parra JRP, Silva-Filho MC (2003) Coupling diet quality and Bowman-Birk and Kunitz-type soybean proteinase inhibitors effectiveness to Diatraea saccharalis development and mortality. Entomol Exp Appl 109: 217-224

     

  • Melo FR, Mello MO, Rigden DJ, Mello LV, Genú AM, Franco OL, Silva-Filho MC, Gleddie S, Grossi-de-Sá MF (2003) Use of phage-display to select novel cystatins specific for Acanthoscelides obtectus cysteine proteinases. Biochim Biophys Acta 1651: 146-152

     

  • Falco MC, Silva-Filho MC (2003) Expression of soybean proteinase inhibitors in transgenic sugarcane plants: effects on natural defense against Diatraea saccharalis. Plant Physiol Biochem 41: 761-766

     

  • Braga DPV, Arrigoni EDB, Silva-Filho MC, Ulian EC (2003) Expression of the Cry1Ab protein in genetically modified sugarcane for the control of Diatraea saccharalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae). J New Seeds 5: 209-222

     

  • Mello OM, Tanaka AS, Silva-Filho MC (2003) Molecular evolution of Bowman-Birk type proteinase inhibitors in flowering plants. Mol Phylogenet Evol 27: 103-112

     

  • Mello OM, Silva-Filho MC (2002) Plant-insect interactions: an evolutionary arms race between two distinct defense mechanisms. Braz J Plant Physiol 14: 71-81

     

  • Falco MC, Pompermayer P, Lopes FCC, Silva-Filho MC (2001) Mechanisms of sugarcane response to herbivory. Genet Mol Biol 24: 113-122

     

  • Falco MC and Silva-Filho MC (2001) Searching for insect resistant genes in sugarcane. Proc Int Soc Sugar Cane Technol 24: 547-550.

     

  • Braga DPV, Arrigoni EDB, Burnquist WL, Silva-Filho MC, Ulian EC (2001) A new approach for control of Diatraea saccharalis (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) through the expression of an insecticidal cryIa(b) protein in transgenic sugarcane. Proc Int Soc Sugar Cane Technol 24: 331-336

     

  • Pompermayer P, Lopes AR, Terra WR, Parra JRP, Falco MC, Silva-Filho MC (2001) Effects of the soybean proteinase inhibitors on development, survival and reproductive potential of the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis. Entomol Exp Appl 99: 79-85

     

  • Brito LO, Lopes AR, Parra JRP, Terra WR, Silva-Filho MC (2001) Adaptation of tobacco budworm Heliothis virescens to proteinase inhibitors may be mediated by the synthesis of new proteinases. Comp Biochem Physiol B 128: 365-375

     

  • Paulillo LCMS, Rios AR, Parra JRP, Terra WR, Silva-Filho MC (2000) Changes in midgut endopeptidase activity of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is responsible for adaptation to soybean proteinase inhibitors. J Econ Entomol 93: 892-896

General Coordinator: Glaucia Souza - Department of Biochemistry - University of São Paulo

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