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Research article2018Peer reviewed

Characterization of a Heterobasidion irregulare endo-rhamnogalacturonase that mediate growth on pectin

Hu, Yang; Kim, Seombeong; Jeon, Junhyun; Elfstrand, Malin; Stenlid, Jan; Lee, Yong-Hwan; Olson, Ake


Heterobasidion irregulare is one of five Heterobasidion annosum sensu lato (s.l.) species, which are destructive pathogens in boreal and temperate forests of the northern hemisphere that causes root and butt rot in conifer. A gene encoding endo-rhamnogalacturonase (HIRHG), which belongs to the glycoside hydrolase family 28 (GH28), was found in a quantitative trait loci (QTL) region for virulence in Heterobasidion. In this study, we showed that HIRHG is highly upregulated during necrotrophic infection of Norway spruce compared with growth in liquid culture and that the HIRHG encoded protein is produced during fungal growth on complex carbon sources. Phylogenetic analysis of endo-rhamnogalacturonases revealed that rhamnogalacturonase genes have been lost in most of the biotrophic and hemibiotrophic plant pathogens investigated but were common in necrotrophic pathogens and saprophytic fungi. Heterologous expression of the HIRHG gene in the hemibiotrophic fungus Magnaporthe oryzae increased its capacity to grow on pectin; however, the transformed M.oryzae isolates showed significant less infection of rice leaves compared to the wild type.


endo-rhamnogalacturonase; Heterobasidion; necrotrophic; pathogen lifestyle; pectin; virulence

Published in

Journal of Phytopathology
2018, Volume: 166, number: 1, pages: 34-43
Publisher: WILEY