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Inhibition of Fungal Appressorium Formation by Pepper (Capsicum annuum) Esterase

January 2001 , Volume 14 , Number  1
Pages  80 - 85

Young Soon Kim , 1 Hyun Hwa Lee , 1 Moon Kyung Ko , 1 Chae Eun Song , 1 Cheol-Yong Bae , 2 Yong Hwan Lee , 2 and Boung-Jun Oh 1

1Kumho Life and Environmental Science Laboratory, Korea Kumho Petrochemical Co. Ltd., 1 Oryong-dong, Puk-gu, Kwangju 500-712, Korea; 2School of Applied Biology and Chemistry and RCNBMA, Seoul National University, Suwon 441-744, Korea

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Accepted 21 September 2000.

A pepper esterase gene (PepEST) that is highly expressed during an incompatible interaction between pepper (Capsicum annuum) and the anthracnose fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides has been previously cloned. Glutathione-S-transferase-tagged recombinant PepEST protein expressed in Escherichia coli showed substrate specificity for p-nitrophenyl esters. Inoculation of compatible unripe pepper fruits with C. gloeosporioides spores amended with the recombinant protein did not cause anthracnose symptoms on the fruit. The recombinant protein has no fungicidal activity, but it significantly inhibits appressorium formation of the anthracnose fungus in a dose-dependent manner. An esterase from porcine liver also inhibited appressorium formation, and the recombinant protein inhibited appressorium formation in the rice blast fungus, Magnaporthe grisea. Inhibition of appressorium formation in M. grisea by the recombinant protein was reversible by treatment with cyclic AMP (cAMP) or 1,16-hexadecanediol. The results suggest that the recombinant protein regulates appressorium formation by modulating the cAMP-dependent signaling pathway in this fungus. Taken together, the PepEST esterase activity can inhibit appressorium formation of C. gloeosporioides, which may result in protection of the unripe fruit against the fungus.

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society