Detection of chitinolytic enzymes with different substrate specificity in tissues of intact sundew (Drosera rotundifolia L.)

Chitinases in sundew tissues
  • Jana LibantováEmail author
  • Terttu Kämäräinen
  • Jana Moravčíková
  • Ildikó Matušíková
  • Jan Salaj


The round-leaf sundew (Drosera rotundifolia L.) is a carnivorous plant expressing a wide range of chitinolytic enzymes playing role in many different processes. In this study the intact plants were analyzed for the presence of chitinase transcripts and chitinolytic activities in different organs. In situ hybridization with chitnase fragment as a probe has revealed the presence of chitinases in the mesophyll cells of leaves and vascular elements of stems of healthy, non-stressed plants. More pronounced expression was observed in cortex and stele cells of roots as well as in ovules and anthers of reproductive organs. Similarly, higher chitinase enzyme activity was typical for flowers and roots suggesting a more specific role of chitinases in these tissues. In addition to endochitinases of different substrate specificities, chitobiosidases contributed to overall chitinolytic activity of tissue extracts. The activity of chitobiosidases was again typical for flowers and roots, while their role in plant physiology remains to be elucidated.


Carnivorous plant Chitinase expression Chitinolytic activity In situ hybridization 



Phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride



The authors thank Anna Fábelová for in vitro plant care. This work is a part of the projects supported by the grants from the Slovak Grant Agencies APVT-51-005602 and VEGA (No. 2-5034-27). T. K. thanks the Academy of Finland, SUNARE-project, for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jana Libantová
    • 1
    Email author
  • Terttu Kämäräinen
    • 2
  • Jana Moravčíková
    • 1
  • Ildikó Matušíková
    • 1
  • Jan Salaj
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Plant Genetics and BiotechnologySlovak Academy of SciencesNitra 1Slovak Republic
  2. 2.Department of Biology/BotanyUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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