Extracellular esterases of phylloplane yeast Pseudozyma antarctica induce defect on cuticle layer structure and water-holding ability of plant leaves
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- Ueda, H., Mitsuhara, I., Tabata, J. et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2015) 99: 6405. doi:10.1007/s00253-015-6523-3
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Aerial plant surface (phylloplane) is a primary key habitat for many microorganisms but is generally recognized as limited in nutrient resources. Pseudozyma antarctica, a nonpathogenic yeast, is commonly isolated from plant surfaces and characterized as an esterase producer with fatty acid assimilation ability. In order to elucidate the biological functions of these esterases, culture filtrate with high esterase activity (crude enzyme) of P. antarctica was applied onto leaves of tomato and Arabidopsis. These leaves showed a wilty phenotype, which is typically associated with water deficiency. Furthermore, we confirmed that crude enzyme-treated detached leaves clearly lost their water-holding ability. In treated leaves of both plants, genes associated to abscisic acid (ABA; a plant stress hormone responding osmotic stress) were activated and accumulation of ABA was confirmed in tomato plants. Microscopic observation of treated leaf surfaces revealed that cuticle layer covering the aerial epidermis of leaves became thinner. A gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis exhibited that fatty acids with 16 and 18 carbon chains were released in larger amounts from treated leaf surfaces, indicating that the crude enzyme has ability to degrade lipid components of cuticle layer. Among the three esterases detected in the crude enzyme, lipase A, lipase B, and P. antarctica esterase (PaE), an in vitro enzyme assay using para-nitrophenyl palmitate as substrate demonstrated that PaE was the most responsible for the degradation. These results suggest that PaE has a potential role in the extraction of fatty acids from plant surfaces, making them available for the growth of phylloplane yeasts.