, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1017-1029

Molecular characterization of four chitinase cDNAs obtained fromCladosporium fulvum-infected tomato

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Complementary DNA clones encoding acidic and basic isoforms of tomato chitinases were isolated fromCladosporium fulvum-infected leaves. The clones were sequenced and found to encode the 30 kDa basic intracellular and the 26 and 27 kDa acidic extracellular tomato chitinases previously purified (M.H.A.J. Joostenet al., in preparation). A fourth truncated cDNA which appears to encode an extracellular chitinase with 82% amino acid similarity to the 30 kDa intracellular chitinase was also isolated. Characterization of the clones revealed that the 30 kDa basic intracellular protein is a class I chitinase and that the 26 and 27 kDa acidic extracellular proteins which have 85% peptide sequence similarity are class II chitinases. The characterized cDNA clones represent four from a family of at least six tomato chitinases. Southern blot analysis indicated that, with the exception of the 30 kDa basic intracellular chitinase, the tomato chitinases are encoded by one or two genes. Northern blot analysis showed that the mRNA encoding the 26 kDa acidic extracellular chitinase is induced more rapidly during an incompatibleC. fulvum-tomato interaction than during a compatible interaction. This difference in timing of mRNA induction was not observed for the 30 kDa basic intracellular chitinase.