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Synergistic Effect of Different Plant Cell Wall–Degrading Enzymes Is Important for Virulence of Fusarium graminearum

Paccanaro, Maria Chiara, Sella, Luca, Castiglioni, Carla, Giacomello, Francesca, Martínez-Rocha, Ana Lilia, D’Ovidio, Renato, Schäfer, Wilhelm, Favaron, Francesco
Molecular plant-microbe interactions 2017 v.30 no.11 pp. 886-895
Fusarium graminearum, Glycine max, Triticum aestivum, cell walls, endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, fungi, genes, mutants, pathogenesis, pathogens, polygalacturonase, seedlings, soybeans, virulence, wheat, xylanases
Endo-polygalacturonases (PGs) and xylanases have been shown to play an important role during pathogenesis of some fungal pathogens of dicot plants, while their role in monocot pathogens is less defined. Pg1 and xyr1 genes of the wheat pathogen Fusarium graminearum encode the main PG and the major regulator of xylanase production, respectively. Single- and double-disrupted mutants for these genes were obtained to assess their contribution to fungal infection. Compared with wild-type strain, the ∆pg mutant showed a nearly abolished PG activity, slight reduced virulence on soybean seedlings, but no significant difference in disease symptoms on wheat spikes; the ∆xyr mutant was strongly reduced in xylanase activity and moderately reduced in cellulase activity but was as virulent as wild type on both soybean and wheat plants. Consequently, the ΔpgΔxyr double mutant was impaired in xylanase, PG, and cellulase activities but, differently from single mutants, was significantly reduced in virulence on both plants. These findings demonstrate that the concurrent presence of PG, xylanase, and cellulase activities is necessary for full virulence. The observation that the uronides released from wheat cell wall after a F. graminearum PG treatment were largely increased by the fungal xylanases suggests that these enzymes act synergistically in deconstructing the plant cell wall.