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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2019 Jul;32(7):888-898. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-06-18-0170-R. Epub 2019 May 28.

Fusarium graminearum arabinanase (Arb93B) Enhances Wheat Head Blight Susceptibility by Suppressing Plant Immunity.

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Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Peoria, IL, U.S.A.


Fusarium head blight (FHB) of wheat and barley caused by the fungus Fusarium graminearum reduces crop yield and contaminates grain with mycotoxins. In this study, we investigated two exo-1,5-α-L-arabinanases (Arb93A and Arb93B) secreted by F. graminearum and their effect on wheat head blight development. Arabinan is an important component of plant cell walls but it was not known whether these arabinanases play a role in FHB. Both ARB93A and ARB93B were induced during the early stages of infection. arb93A mutants did not exhibit a detectable change in ability to cause FHB, whereas arb93B mutants caused lower levels of FHB symptoms and deoxynivalenol contamination compared with the wild type. Furthermore, virulence and deoxynivalenol contamination were restored to wild-type levels in ARB93B complemented mutants. Fusion proteins of green fluorescent protein (GFP) with the predicted chloroplast peptide or the mature protein of Arb93B were not observed in the chloroplast. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was reduced in the infiltrated zones of Nicotiana benthamiana leaves expressing ARB93B-GFP. Coexpression of ARB93B-GFP and Bax in N. benthamiana leaves significantly suppressed Bax-programmed cell death. Our results indicate that Arb93B enhances plant disease susceptibility by suppressing ROS-associated plant defense responses.


Fusarium head blight; deoxynivalenol; exo-α-L-arabinanase; fungal effectors; fungus–plant interactions; gene expression; mutagenesis; plant immunity


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