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Multiple Roles and Effects of a Novel Trichoderma Hydrophobin

February 2015 , Volume 28 , Number  2
Pages  167 - 179

Michelina Ruocco,1 Stefania Lanzuise,2 Nadia Lombardi,1,2 Sheridan L. Woo,1,2 Francesco Vinale,1 Roberta Marra,2 Rosaria Varlese,2 Gelsomina Manganiello,2 Alberto Pascale,2 Valeria Scala,3 David Turrà,4 Felice Scala,1,2 and Matteo Lorito1,2

1Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto per la Protezione Sostenibile delle Piante Portici, Napoli, Italy; 2Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, Dipartimento di Agraria, Portici, Napoli, Italy; 3Università La Sapienza, Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Roma, Italy; 4University of Cordoba, Department of Genetics, E-14071 Cordoba, Spain

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Accepted 6 October 2014.

Fungi belonging to the genus Trichoderma are among the most active and ecologically successful microbes found in natural environments, because they are able to use a variety of substrates and affect the growth of other microbes and virtually any plant species. We isolated and characterized a novel type II hydrophobin secreted by the biocontrol strain MK1 of Trichoderma longibrachiatum. The corresponding gene (Hytlo1) has a multiple role in the Trichoderma–plant–pathogen three-way interaction, while the purified protein displayed a direct antifungal as well as a microbe-associated molecular pattern and a plant growth promotion (PGP) activity. Leaf infiltration with the hydrophobin systemically increased resistance to pathogens and activated defense-related responses involving reactive oxygen species, superoxide dismutase, oxylipin, phytoalexin, and pathogenesis-related protein formation or activity. The hydrophobin was found to enhance development of a variety of plants when applied at very low doses. It particularly stimulated root formation and growth, as demonstrated also by transient expression of the encoding gene in tobacco and tomato. Targeted knock-out of Hytlo1 significantly reduced both antagonistic and PGP effect of the wild-type strain. We conclude that this protein represents a clear example of a molecular factor developed by Trichoderma spp. to establish a mutually beneficial interaction with the colonized plant.

© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society