Characterization and functional analyses of the chitinase-encoding genes in the nematode-trapping fungus Arthrobotrys oligospora
Genome-wide analysis of chitinase genes in the Hypocrea jecorina (anamorph: Trichoderma reesei) genome database revealed the presence of 18 ORFs encoding putative chitinases, all of them belonging to glycoside hydrolase family 18. Eleven of these encode yet undescribed chitinases. A systematic nomenclature for the H. jecorina chitinases is proposed, which designates the chitinases corresponding to their glycoside hydrolase family and numbers the isoenzymes according to their pI from Chi18-1 to Chi18-18. Phylogenetic analysis of H. jecorina chitinases, and those from other filamentous fungi, including hypothetical proteins of annotated fungal genome databases, showed that the fungal chitinases can be divided into three groups: groups A and B (corresponding to class V and III chitinases, respectively) also contained the so Trichoderma chitinases identified to date, whereas a novel group C comprises high molecular weight chitinases that have a domain structure similar to Kluyveromyces lactis killer toxins. Five chitinase genes, representing members of groups A-C, were cloned from the mycoparasitic species H. atroviridis (anamorph: T. atroviride). Transcription of chi18-10 (belonging to group C) and chi18-13 (belonging to a novel clade in group B) was triggered upon growth on Rhizoctonia solani cell walls, and during plate confrontation tests with the plant pathogen R. solani. Therefore, group C and the novel clade in group B may contain chitinases of potential relevance for the biocontrol properties of Trichoderma.