Targeted mutants of Cochliobolus carbonum lacking the two major extracellular polygalacturonases

John S. Scott-Craig, Yi Qiang Cheng, Felice Cervone, Giulia De Lorenzo, John W. Pitkin, Jonathan D. Walton

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The filamentous fungus Cochliobolus carbonum produces endo-α1,4- polygalacturonase (endoPG), exo-α1,4-polygalacturonase (exoPG), and pectin methylesterase when grown in culture on pectin. Residual activity in a pgn1 mutant (lacking endoPG) was due to exoPG activity, and the responsible protein has now been purified. After chemical deglycosylation, the molecular mass of the purified protein decreased from greater than 60 to 45 kDa. The gene that encodes exoPG, PGX1, was isolated with PCR primers based on peptide sequences from the protein. The product of PGX1, Pgx1p, has a predicted molecular mass of 48 kDa, 12 potential N-glycosylation sites, and 61% amino acid identity to an exoPG from the saprophytic fungus Aspergillus tubingensis. Strains of C. carbonum mutated in PGX1 were constructed by targeted gene disruption and by gene replacement. Growth of pgx1 mutant strains on pectin was reduced by ca. 20%, and they were still pathogenic on maize. A double pgn1/pgx1 mutant strain was constructed by crossing. The double mutant grew as well as the pgx1 single mutant on pectin and was still pathogenic despite having less than 1% of total wild-type PG activity. Double mutants retained a small amount of PG activity with the same cation-exchange retention time as Pgn1p and also pectin methylesterase and a PG activity associated with the mycelium. Continued growth of the pgn1/pgx1 mutant on pectin could be due to one or more of these residual activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1497-1503
Number of pages7
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1998


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