Genomic characterization of plant cell wall degrading enzymes and in silico analysis of xylanses and polygalacturonases of Fusarium virguliforme

Hao Xun Chang, Craig R. Yendrek, Gustavo Caetano-Anolles, Glen L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) are a subset of carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZy) produced by plant pathogens to degrade plant cell walls. To counteract PCWDEs, plants release PCWDEs inhibitor proteins (PIPs) to reduce their impact. Several transgenic plants expressing exogenous PIPs that interact with fungal glycoside hydrolase (GH)11-type xylanases or GH28-type polygalacturonase (PG) have been shown to enhance disease resistance. However, many plant pathogenic Fusarium species were reported to escape PIPs inhibition. Fusarium virguliforme is a soilborne pathogen that causes soybean sudden death syndrome (SDS). Although the genome of F. virguliforme was sequenced, there were limited studies focused on the PCWDEs of F. virguliforme. Our goal was to understand the genomic CAZy structure of F. viguliforme, and determine if exogenous PIPs could be theoretically used in soybean to enhance resistance against F. virguliforme. Results: F. virguliforme produces diverse CAZy to degrade cellulose and pectin, similar to other necrotorphic and hemibiotrophic plant pathogenic fungi. However, some common CAZy of plant pathogenic fungi that catalyze hemicellulose, such as GH29, GH30, GH44, GH54, GH62, and GH67, were deficient in F. virguliforme. While the absence of these CAZy families might be complemented by other hemicellulases, F. virguliforme contained unique families including GH131, polysaccharide lyase (PL) 9, PL20, and PL22 that were not reported in other plant pathogenic fungi or oomycetes. Sequence analysis revealed two GH11 xylanases of F. virguliforme, FvXyn11A and FvXyn11B, have conserved residues that allow xylanase inhibitor protein I (XIP-I) binding. Structural modeling suggested that FvXyn11A and FvXyn11B could be blocked by XIP-I that serves as good candidate for developing transgenic soybeans. In contrast, one GH28 PG, FvPG2, contains an amino acid substitution that is potentially incompatible with the bean polygalacturonase-inhibitor protein II (PvPGIP2). Conclusions: Identification and annotation of CAZy provided advanced understanding of genomic composition of PCWDEs in F. virguliforme. Sequence and structural analyses of FvXyn11A and FvXyn11B suggested both xylanases were conserved in residues that allow XIP-I inhibition, and expression of both xylanases were detected during soybean roots infection. We postulate that a transgenic soybean expressing wheat XIP-I may be useful for developing root rot resistance to F. virguliforme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number147
JournalBMC microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 12 2016


  • Fusarium virguliforme
  • PCWDE inhibitor proteins (PIPs)
  • Plant cell wall degrading enzymes (PCWDEs)
  • Polygalacturonase
  • Soybean
  • Sudden death syndrome (SDS)
  • Transgenic soybeans
  • Xylanases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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