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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336910

Title: The endochitinase VDECH from Verticillium dahliae inhibits spore germination and activates plant defense responses

item CHENG, XIAOXIAO - Cotton Research Institute - China
item ZHAO, LIHONG - Cotton Research Institute - China
item Klosterman, Steven
item FENG, HONGJIE - Cotton Research Institute - China
item FENG, ZILI - Cotton Research Institute - China
item WEI, FENG - Cotton Research Institute - China
item SHI, YONGQIANG - Cotton Research Institute - China
item LI, ZHIFANG - Cotton Research Institute - China
item ZHU, HE-QIN - Cotton Research Institute - China

Submitted to: Plant Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2017
Publication Date: 3/8/2017
Citation: Cheng, X., Zhao, L., Klosterman, S.J., Feng, H., Feng, Z., Wei, F., Shi, Y., Li, Z., Zhu, H. 2017. The endochitinase VDECH from Verticillium dahliae inhibits spore germination and activates plant defense responses. Plant Science. 259:12–23.

Interpretive Summary: Molecules released by a pathogen during plant infection may elicit very strong defense responses from the plant, including hypersensitive cell death and plant compounds that are associated with defense. In this study, a protein released by the fungal plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae was examined as an elicitor of plant defense. In both Arabidopsis and cotton, the purified protein was a potent elicitor of a range of plant defense responses. The findings that this occurred in both Arabidopsis and cotton suggested that these responses are conserved between different plant families and applicable to elicit defense responses in vegetables. Additionally, the protein also inhibited the germination of the asexual spores from two different fungi, V. dahliae and Fusarium oxysporum, illustrating that the protein may be useful to inhibit these soilborne fungi.

Technical Abstract: Chitinases function in the digestion of chitin molecules, which are present principally in insects and fungi. In plants, chitinase genes play important roles in defense, and their expression can be triggered in response to both biotic and abiotic stresses. In this study, we cloned and characterized an endochitinase (VDECH) from Verticillium dahliae, strain Vd080. The VDECH coding region consists of 1845 bp with two exons and one 54 bp intron, encoding a 615 amino acid protein with the predicted molecular weight(MW) of 63.9 kDa. The VDECH cDNA without signal peptide-encoding region was introduced into pCold-TF vector and the recombinant protein HIS-VDECH with a predicted MW of ~114 kDa was expressed. HIS-VDECH showed high tolerance to extreme temperature, exhibiting efficient chitinolytic activity at 50'C. In addition, VDECH triggered typical plant defense responses, including a hypersensitive response, oxidative burst, and elicited increased expression of defense-related genes in both Arabidopsis and cotton. VDECH-treatment of the conidial spores of V. dahliae and Fusarium oxysporum resulted in marked reductions in the germination of these spores in both fungi. After 36 h of incubation with VDECH, the inhibition rate of germination was recorded at 99.6% for V. dahliae, and 96.9% for F. oxysporum. These results provide evidence that VDECH is recognized by the plant to elicit defense responses, and also that VDECH is an effective inhibitor of conidia germination, both of which may be exploited for disease control.