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Plant growth and metabolism are modulated by two functionally antagonistic signalling pathways which are evolutionary conserved in eukaryotes: the Target of Rapamycin kinase (TOR) and the Sucrose non-fermenting 1-Related Kinase 1 (SnRK1) pathways. The switch between activation/deactivation of TOR or SnRK1 pathways is triggered by energetic signals, which are linked to the photosynthetic activity, but also depends on responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Both pathways lead to transcriptional reprogramming involving, among others, the basic leucine zipper (bZIPs) transcription factors (TFs), which in turn control the metabolism of RFOs (raffinose family oligosaccharides). RFOs accumulate in response to a variety of stresses and may be involved in stress resistance. Using Arabidopsis as a model organism, this project investigates the potential interaction nodes between TOR and SnRK1 pathways involving bZIP TFs. Understanding the connections between TOR and SnRK1 signalling pathways, two central growth modulators perceiving the energetic and stress conditions to control accumulation of sugars like RFOs, is of interest within a context of global climate changes and the need of sustainable alternatives for our current agriculture production model.
Graduated in Biological Sciences, I am interested in the plasticity of plants for adapting to stress conditions. During my PhD at the State University of Campinas (Brazil), I studied the involvement of post-transcriptional regulations on glucose- and ABA-promoted responses using Arabidopsis as a model organism. While an experimental setup was developed for efficiently identifying potential targets of mRNA decay control in response to these two signals, specific glucose-responsive miRNAs controlling Arabidopsis early development were revealed. As Post-Doctorate Fellow, I started to explore the kinetics of ABA-promoted changes in gene expression. This research continues as a collaboration with researchers from the Brazilian institution. I then accepted the invitation to work for one year as Senior Researcher at the Russian Institute of Radiology and Agroecology (Russian Federation). Having access to unique populations of Scots pine chronically exposed to radiation because of the Chernobyl NPP accident in 1986, I conducted high-throughput transcriptomic studies intending to unravel the mechanisms that allow plants to endure such an extreme condition. Now, as an AgreenSkills+ Fellow, my focus has returned to Arabidopsis, as I work on TOR (Target of Rapamycin), which is central regulators of growth and metabolism, and its interplay with bZIP transcription factors.
Duarte GT, Volkova PY, Geras’kin SA. 2019. The response profile to chronic radiation exposure based on the transcriptome analysis of Scots pine from Chernobyl affected zone. Environmental Pollution 250, 618-626.
Forzani C, Duarte GT, Clement G, Huguet S, Paysant-le-Roux C, Mercier R, Leprince AS, Meyer C. Mutations of the AtYAK1 kinase suppress TOR deficiency in Arabidopsis. Cell Press Sneak Peak. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3305560 [Preprint].
Geras'kin S, Volkova P, Vasiliev D, Dikareva N, Oudalova A, Kazakova E, Makarenko E, Duarte GT, Kuzmenkov A. Scots pine as a promising indicator organism for biomonitoring of the polluted environment: A case study on chronically irradiated populations. Mutation Research (forthcoming). doi.org/10.1016/j.mrgentox.2018.12.011.
Forzani C, Duarte GT, Meyer C. 2018. The Plant Target of Rapamycin Kinase: A connecTOR between Sulfur and Growth. Trends in Plant Science 23: 472-475.
Volkova PY, Geras'kin SA, Horemans N, Makarenko ES, Saenen E, Duarte GT, et al., 2018. Chronic radiation exposure as an ecological factor: Hypermethylation and genetic differentiation in irradiated Scots pine populations. Environ Pollut. 232, 105-112.
Alves CS, Vicentini R, Duarte GT, Pinoti VF, Vincentz M, Nogueira FT, 2016. Genome-wide identification and characterization of tRNA-derived RNA fragments in land plants. Plant Mol Biol. 93, 35-48.
Duarte GT, Matiolli CC, Pant BD, Schlereth A, Scheible WR, Stitt M, Vicentini R, Vincentz M, 2013. Involvement of microRNA-related regulatory pathways in the glucose-mediated control of Arabidopsis early seedling development. J Exp Bot. 64, 4301-4312.
Matiolli CC, Tomaz JP, Duarte GT Prado FM, Del Bem LE, Silveira AB, Gauer L, Corrêa LG, Drumond RD, Viana AJ, Di Mascio P, Meyer C, Vincentz M, 2011. The Arabidopsis bZIP gene AtbZIP63 is a sensitive integrator of transient abscisic acid and glucose signals. Plant Physiol. 157, 692-705.
Deep knowledge in the area of research. 3rd International Scientific Conference “Ecological Safety of NPPs”. Kaliningrad, Russia. 2016.
Honorable Mention for the work in the field of Genetics, Evolution and Plant Breeding, Brazilian Genetics Society. 61st Brazilian Genetics Conference. 2015.
Honorable Mention for the work in the field of Genetics, Evolution and Animal Breeding – Scientific Initiation Award, Brazilian Genetics Society. 2005.
Award of Best Work in Biology Field – XIII Internal Conference of Scientific Initiation of UNICAMP. 2005.