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Pectin Methylesterase Is Induced in Arabidopsis upon Infection and Is Necessary for a Successful Colonization by Necrotrophic Pathogens

April 2011 , Volume 24 , Number  4
Pages  432 - 440

Alessandro Raiola,1 Vincenzo Lionetti,2 Ibrahim Elmaghraby,1 Peter Immerzeel,3 Ewa J. Mellerowicz,3 Giovanni Salvi,2 Felice Cervone,2 and Daniela Bellincampi2

1Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padua, Legnaro (PD) Italy; 2Istituto Pasteur Cenci Bolognetti, Department of Biology and Biotechnologies “C. Darwin”, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome; 3Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Umeå, Sweden

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Accepted 13 December 2010.

The ability of bacterial or fungal necrotrophs to produce enzymes capable of degrading pectin is often related to a successful initiation of the infective process. Pectin is synthesized in a highly methylesterified form and is subsequently de-esterified in muro by pectin methylesterase. De-esterification makes pectin more susceptible to the degradation by pectic enzymes such as endopolygalacturonases (endoPG) and pectate lyases secreted by necrotrophic pathogens during the first stages of infection. We show that, upon infection, Pectobacterium carotovorum and Botrytis cinerea induce in Arabidopsis a rapid expression of AtPME3 that acts as a susceptibility factor and is required for the initial colonization of the host tissue.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society