Mario Murakami is Principal Investigator at CNPEM (LNLS/LNBio) since 2008 and was the coordinator of the X-ray Crystallography Village from 2008 to 2016. Currently, he is the coordinator of the Molecular Division at CTBE/CNPEM. He is graduated in Engineering at UNESP and doctorate in Molecular Biophysics at UNESP with sandwich period at University of Hamburg and DESY. PostDocs in Macromolecular Crystallography and NMR at UNESP and Rutgers University, respectively. He received his “Habilitation” (Dr rer. Nat. habil.) in Biotechnology at UNICAMP in 2013. He has broad experience in enzyme structure, function and engineering, using a multidisciplinary approach (in silico, in vitro and in vivo), acting on the understanding of molecular mechanisms associated with plant cell wall degradation and modification. Murakami has published over 125 peer-reviewed publications and has more than 1500 citations in the last 5 years.
What can we learn from Xanthomonas phytopathogens for plant cell wall depolymerization?
Xanthomonas plant pathogens attack a broad range of economically-relevant agricultural crops such as cruciferous vegetables, sugarcane, rice and citrus. Most of the diseases caused by these bacteria remain poorly understood at the molecular level and there are no effective treatments available so far, highlighting the importance of studies with such phytopathogens. Interestingly, some Xanthomonas species, like X. citri, contain a plethora of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes (CAZymes), which is comparable to the repertoire of filamentous fungi specialized in biomass degradation, in terms of diversity and abundance. However, these enzymes are yet unexplored regarding their potential industrial use and how they could mediate or contribute to infection and virulence. In this way, we have been extensively characterizing the entire CAZome of X. citri and, as envisaged, novel activities and molecular mechanisms were unveiled, broadening our current understanding of the nature´s strategies for plant cell depolymerization and revealing a superb biotechnological potential of Xanthomonas CAZymes in biomass degradation.
Financial support: FAPESP, CNPq and CAPES.