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Secretion of a Fungal Extracellular Catalase by Claviceps purpurea During Infection of Rye: Putative Role in Pathogenicity and Suppression of Host Defense

August 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  8
Pages  744 - 753

Victoriano Garre , Klaus B. Tenberge , and Rainer Eising

Institut für Botanik und Botanischer Garten, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Schloβgarten 3, D-48149 Münster, Federal Republic of Germany

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Accepted for publication 14 April 1998.

Hydrogen peroxide of the host origin accumulates in plant apoplasts in response to pathogen attack and probably functions directly in defense reactions or in signaling, according to a previous study. Since Claviceps purpurea produces compatible interactions with hundreds of host species, we hypothesized that the fungus might interfere with H2O2-mediated defense by means of secreted catalases. In axenic culture of C. purpurea, catalase activity accumulated in the medium and was inhibited by the catalase inhibitor aminotriazole. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis followed by diaminobenzidine (DAB)-mediated activity staining showed that one specific catalase found in culture filtrate was also present in rye ovaries infected with C. purpurea and in honeydew. This catalase form is probably induced during infection. In situ activity staining, using DAB-mediated enzyme-cytochemistry in electron microscopy, located catalase activity in hyphal walls during both axenic culture and infection of rye. Activity staining accumulated in periplasmic spaces and was especially strong at hyphal surfaces; control staining after aminotriazole inhibition was negative. Intracellular activity staining in organelles of the fungal secretory pathway substantiated that catalase was secreted by C. purpurea. With molecular cytology, anticatalase epitopes were localized with different heterologous catalase antibodies at sites corresponding to the activity staining pattern. In all infection phases, immunogold labeling indicated that the putative catalase was secreted via multivesicular bodies into the fungal wall and diffused into the host apoplast exclusively at the hostpathogen interface. The secretion of fungal catalase is a novel finding in phytopathology, and we discuss its role in the ubiquitous ergot disease.

Additional keywords: active oxygen species , host-pathogen interaction , immunogold localization .

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society