Chitosan Mediates Germling Adhesion in Magnaporthe oryzae and Is Required for Surface Sensing and Germling Morphogenesis
van Kan, J
Public Library of Science
© 2016 Geoghegan, Gurr. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
The fungal cell wall not only plays a critical role in maintaining cellular integrity, but also forms the interface between fungi and their environment. The composition of the cell wall can therefore influence the interactions of fungi with their physical and biological environments. Chitin, one of the main polysaccharide components of the wall, can be chemically modified by deacetylation. This reaction is catalyzed by a family of enzymes known as chitin deacetylases (CDAs), and results in the formation of chitosan, a polymer of β1,4-glucosamine. Chitosan has previously been shown to accumulate in the cell wall of infection structures in phytopathogenic fungi. Here, it has long been hypothesized to act as a 'stealth' molecule, necessary for full pathogenesis. In this study, we used the crop pathogen and model organism Magnaporthe oryzae to test this hypothesis. We first confirmed that chitosan localizes to the germ tube and appressorium, then deleted CDA genes on the basis of their elevated transcript levels during appressorium differentiation. Germlings of the deletion strains showed loss of chitin deacetylation, and were compromised in their ability to adhere and form appressoria on artificial hydrophobic surfaces. Surprisingly, the addition of exogenous chitosan fully restored germling adhesion and appressorium development. Despite the lack of appressorium development on artificial surfaces, pathogenicity was unaffected in the mutant strains. Further analyses demonstrated that cuticular waxes are sufficient to over-ride the requirement for chitosan during appressorium development on the plant surface. Thus, chitosan does not have a role as a 'stealth' molecule, but instead mediates the adhesion of germlings to surfaces, thereby allowing the perception of the physical stimuli necessary to promote appressorium development. This study thus reveals a novel role for chitosan in phytopathogenic fungi, and gives further insight into the mechanisms governing appressorium development in M.oryzae.
IAG was funded by BBSRC CASE studentship; SJG gratefully acknowledges BBSRC grant award BB/J008923/1. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
This is the final version of the article. Available from Public Library of Science via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 12(6), article e1005703