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Expression of Pectate Lyase from Colletotrichum gloeosporioides in C. magna Promotes Pathogenicity

August 2000 , Volume 13 , Number  8
Pages  887 - 891

Nir Yakoby , 1 , 3 Stanley Freeman , 2 Amos Dinoor , 3 Noel T. Keen , 4 and Dov Prusky 1

1Department of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; 2Department of Plant Pathology, Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel; 3Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Rehovot 76100, Israel; 4Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside 95250, U.S.A.

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Accepted 2 May 2000.

To test the contribution of pectate lyase (PL) to promoting fungal pathogenicity, a pectate lyase gene (pel) from the avocado pathogen Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, isolate Cg-14, was expressed in C. magna isolate L-2.5, a pathogen of cucurbits that causes minor symptoms in watermelon seedlings and avocado fruits. Isolate L-2.5 was transformed with pPCPH-1 containing hph-B as a selectable marker and the 4.1-kb genomic pel clone. Southern hybridization, with the 4.1-kb genomic pel clone or 2.13-kb hph-B cassette as probes, detected integration of pel in transformed C. magna isolates Cm-PL-3 and Cm-PL-10. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis with antibodies against Cg-14 PL detected a single PL secreted by L-2.5 at a molecular mass of 41.5 kDa, whereas the PL of C. gloeosporioides had a molecular mass of 39 kDa. When PL activity was measured 4 days after inoculation in pecto-lytic enzyme-inducing media (PEIM), transformed isolates Cm-PL-3 and Cm-PL-10 showed additive PL activity relative to both Cg-14 and L-2.5. Transformed isolates also showed additive maceration capabilities on avocado pericarp relative to the wild-type C. magna alone, but did not reach the maceration ability of C. gloeosporioides. However, more severe maceration and damping off developed in watermelon seedlings inoculated with the transformed isolates compared with the two wild-type isolates, which showed no symptom development on these seedlings during the same period. Results clearly show the contribution of a single pel to the pathogenic abilities of C. magna and suggest that PL is a pathogenicity factor required for the penetration and colonization of Colletotrichum species.

Additional keywords: pectolytic enzymes.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society