The Endo-Arabinanase BcAra1 Is a Novel Host-Specific Virulence Factor of the Necrotic Fungal Phytopathogen Botrytis cinerea

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The plant cell wall is one of the first physical interfaces encountered by plant pathogens and consists of polysaccharides, of which arabinan is an important constituent. During infection, the necrotrophic plant pathogen Botrytis cinerea secretes a cocktail of plant cell-wall-degrading enzymes, including endo-arabinanase activity, which carries out the breakdown of arabinan. The roles of arabinan and endo-arabinanases during microbial infection were thus far elusive. In this study, the gene Bcara1 encoding for a novel α-1,5-L-endo-arabinanase was identified and the heterologously expressed BcAra1 protein was shown to hydrolyze linear arabinan with high efficiency whereas little or no activity was observed against the other oligo- and polysaccharides tested. The Bcara1 knockout mutants displayed reduced arabinanase activity in vitro and severe retardation in secondary lesion formation during infection of Arabidopsis leaves. These results indicate that BcAra1 is a novel endo-arabinanase and plays an important role during the infection of Arabidopsis. Interestingly, the level of Bcara1 transcript was considerably lower during the infection of Nicotiana benthamiana compared with Arabidopsis and, consequently, the ΔBcara1 mutants showed the wild-type level of virulence on N. benthamiana leaves. These results support the conclusion that the expression of Bcara1 is host dependent and is a key determinant of the disease outcome.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Plant - Microbe Interactions
Volume27
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)781-792
Number of pages12
ISSN0894-0282
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014

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