Tzelepis G, Dubey M, Jensen DF, Karlsson M
Microbiology (Reading, Engl.) 161 (7) 1407-1419 [2015-07-00; online 2015-04-18]
Clonostachysrosea is a mycoparasitic fungal species that is an efficient biocontrol agent against many plant diseases. During mycoparasitic interactions, one of the most crucial steps is the hydrolysis of the prey's fungal cell wall, which mainly consists of glucans, glycoproteins and chitin. Chitinases are hydrolytic enzymes responsible for chitin degradation and it is suggested that they play an important role in fungal-fungal interactions. Fungal chitinases belong exclusively to the glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 18.These GH18 proteins are categorized into three distinct phylogenetic groups (A, B and C), subdivided into several subgroups. In this study, we identified 14 GH18 genes in the C. rosea genome, which is remarkably low compared with the high numbers found in mycoparasitic Trichoderma species. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that C. rosea contains eight genes in group A, two genes in group B, two genes in group C, one gene encoding a putative ENGase (endo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidase) and the ech37 gene, which is of bacterial origin. Gene expression analysis showed that only two genes had higher transcription levels during fungal-fungal interactions, while eight out of 14 GH18 genes were triggered by chitin. Furthermore, deletion of the C group chiC2 gene decreased the growth inhibitory activity of C. rosea culture filtrates against Botrytis cinerea and Rhizoctonia solani, although the biocontrol ability of C. rosea against B. cinerea was not affected. In addition, a potential role of the CHIC2 chitinase in the sporulation process was revealed. These results provide new information about the role of GH18 proteins in mycoparasitic interactions.