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Title: Coexpression of Fungal Cell Wall-Modifying Enzymes Reveals Their Additive Impact on Arabidopsis Resistance to the Fungal Pathogen, Botrytis cinerea
The plant cell wall (CW) is an outer cell skeleton that plays an important role in plant growth and protection against both biotic and abiotic stresses. Signals and molecules produced during host–pathogen interactions have been proven to be involved in plant stress responses initiating signal pathways. Based on our previous research findings, the present study explored the possibility of additively or synergistically increasing plant stress resistance by stacking beneficial genes. In order to prove our hypothesis, we generated transgenic Arabidopsis plants constitutively overexpressing three different Aspergillus nidulans CW-modifying enzymes: a xylan acetylesterase, a rhamnogalacturonan acetylesterase and a feruloylesterase. The two acetylesterases were expressed either together or in combination with the feruloylesterase to study the effect of CW polysaccharide deacetylation and deferuloylation on Arabidopsis defense reactions against a fungal pathogen, Botrytis cinerea. The transgenic Arabidopsis plants expressing two acetylesterases together showed higher CW deacetylation and increased resistance to B. cinerea in comparison to wild-type (WT) Col-0 and plants expressing single acetylesterases. While the expression of feruloylesterase alone compromised plant resistance, coexpression of feruloylesterase together with either one of the two acetylesterases restored plant resistance to the pathogen. These CW modifications induced several defense-related genes in uninfected healthy plants, confirming their impact on plant resistance. These results demonstrated that coexpression of complementary CW-modifying enzymes in different combinations have an additive effect on plant stress response by constitutively priming the plant defense pathways. These findings might be useful for generating valuable crops with higher protections against biotic stresses.  more » « less
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National Science Foundation
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