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Trends Plant Sci. 2006 Jul;11(7):359-67. Epub 2006 Jun 13.

Plant protein inhibitors of cell wall degrading enzymes.

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Institut Méditerranéen de Recherche en Nutrition, Faculté des Sciences de St Jérôme, F-13397 Marseilles Cedex 20, France.


Plant cell walls, which consist mainly of polysaccharides (i.e. cellulose, hemicelluloses and pectins), play an important role in defending plants against pathogens. Most phytopathogenic microorganisms secrete an array of cell wall degrading enzymes (CWDEs) capable of depolymerizing the polysaccharides in the plant host wall. In response, plants have evolved a diverse battery of defence responses including protein inhibitors of these enzymes. These include inhibitors of pectin degrading enzymes such as polygalacturonases, pectinmethyl esterases and pectin lyases, and hemicellulose degrading enzymes such as endoxylanases and xyloglucan endoglucanases. The discovery of these plant inhibitors and the recent resolution of their three-dimensional structures, free or in complex with their target enzymes, provide new lines of evidence regarding their function and evolution in plant-pathogen interactions.

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