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Plant Physiol. 1997 Jul; 114(3): 957–968.
PMCID: PMC158384

Differential effect of purified spruce chitinases and beta-1,3-glucanases on the activity of elicitors from ectomycorrhizal fungi.


Two chitinases (EC and two beta-1,3-glucanases (EC were purified from the culture medium of spruce (Picea abines [L.] Karst.) cells to study their role in modifying elicitors, cell walls, growth, and hyphal morphology of ectomycorrhizal fungi. The 36-kD class I chitinase (isoelectric point [pl] 8.0) and the 28-kD chitinase (pl 8.7) decreased the activity of elicitor preparations from Hebeloma crustuliniforme (Bull. ex Fries.) Quél., Amanita muscaria (L.) Pers., and Suillus variegatus (Sw.: Fr.) O.K., as demonstrated by using the elicitor-induced extracellular alkalinization in spruce cells as a test system. In addition, chitinases released monomeric products from the walls of these ectomycorrhizal fungi. The beta-1,3-glucanases (35 kD, pl 3.7 and 3.9), in contrast, had little influence on the activity of the fungal elicitors and released only from walls of A. muscaria some polymeric products. Furthermore, chitinases alone and in combination with beta-1,3-glucanases had no effect on the growth and morphology of the hyphae. Thus, it is suggested that apoplastic chitinases in the root cortex destroy elicitors from the ectomycorrhizal fungi without damaging the fungus. By this mechanism the host plant could attenuate the elicitor signal and adjust its own defense reactions to a level allowing symbiotic interaction.

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Selected References

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