© 2015 Elsevier Inc. The benzoxazolinone class of phytoalexins are released by wheat, maize, rye and other agriculturally important species in the Poaceae family upon pathogen attack. Benzoxazolinones show antimicrobial effects on plant pathogens, but certain fungi have evolved mechanisms to actively detoxify these compounds which may contribute to the virulence of the pathogens. In many Fusarium spp. a cluster of genes is thought to be involved in the detoxification of benzoxazolinones. However, only one enzyme encoded in the cluster has been unequivocally assigned a role in this process. The first step in the detoxification of benzoxazolinones in Fusarium spp. involves the hydrolysis of a cyclic ester bond. This reaction is encoded by the FDB1 locus in F. verticillioides but the underlying gene is yet to be cloned. We previously proposed that FDB1 encodes a γ-lactamase, and here direct evidence for this is presented. Expression analyses in the important wheat pathogen F. pseudograminearum demonstrated that amongst the three predicted γ-lactamase genes only the one designated as FDB1, part of the proposed benzoxazolinone cluster in F. pseudograminearum, was strongly responsive to exogenous benzoxazolinone application. Analysis of independent F. pseudograminearum and F. graminearum FDB1 gene deletion mutants, as well as biochemical assays, demonstrated that the γ-lactamase enzyme, encoded by FDB1, catalyses the first step in detoxification of benzoxazolinones. Overall, our results support the notion that Fusarium pathogens that cause crown rot and head blight on wheat have adopted strategies to overcome host-derived chemical defences.
Kettle, A. J., Carere, J., Batley, J., Benfield, A. H., Manners, J. M., Kazan, K., & Gardiner, D. M. (2015). A γ-lactamase from cereal infecting Fusarium spp. catalyses the first step in the degradation of the benzoxazolinone class of phytoalexins. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 83, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fgb.2015.08.005