Molecular and functional characterization of an endoglucanase in the phytopathogenic fungus Pyrenochaeta lycopersici
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Many fungal plant pathogens secrete an array of cell wall degrading enzymes mainly involved in the pathogenesis. In this work, a cDNA clone encoding an extracellular endo-1,4-β-glucanase (named PlEGL1) from the causal agent of the Corky Root Rot of tomato, Pyrenochaeta lycopersici, was isolated and characterized, in order to understand its putative role in the pathogenesis and its mechanism of action. Multiple alignment of the deduced amino acidic sequence shows a high homology with other endoglucanases from different phytopathogenic fungi and detects a well-defined conserved domain of the Glycosyl Hydrolase family 61 (GH61). In vitro, Plegl1 gene transcription is correlated to a cellulolytic activity of the fungus, regulated, in its turn, by the presence of sugar and/or cellulose in the culture medium. In the infected plants, expression level of Plegl1 is positively correlated to the development of the disease. PlEGL1 was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and the recombinant protein was purified and tested for its cellulolytic ability, showing a very weak activity, in agreement with all the endoglucanases belonging to GH61 family. The finding in this paper will provide the basis for further determination of biochemical properties of the PlEGL1 protein and its possible involvement in the host–pathogen interaction.
KeywordsPyrenochaeta lycopersici Cell wall degrading enzymes Endo-1,4-β-glucanase Pathogenicity
This work was performed within the framework of the project RESPAT: “Identificazione di geni implicati nella resistenza e nella patogenicità in interazioni tra piante d’interesse agrario e patogeni fungini, batterici e virali”.
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