An Arabidopsis berberine bridge enzyme‐like protein specifically oxidizes cellulose oligomers and plays a role in immunity
The plant cell wall is the barrier that pathogens must overcome to cause a disease, and to this end they secrete enzymes that degrade the various cell wall components. Due to the complexity of these components, several types of oligosaccharide fragments may be released during pathogenesis and some of these can act as damage‐associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Well‐known DAMPs are the oligogalacturonides (OGs) released upon degradation of homogalacturonan and the products of cellulose breakdown, i.e. the cellodextrins (CDs). We have previously reported that four Arabidopsis berberine bridge enzyme‐like (BBE‐like) proteins (OGOX1–4) oxidize OGs and impair their elicitor activity. We show here that another Arabidopsis BBE‐like protein, which is expressed coordinately with OGOX1 during immunity, specifically oxidizes CDs with a preference for cellotriose (CD3) and longer fragments (CD4–CD6). Oxidized CDs show a negligible elicitor activity and are less easily utilized as a carbon source by the fungus Botrytis cinerea. The enzyme, named CELLOX (cellodextrin oxidase), is encoded by the gene At4 g20860. Plants overexpressing CELLOX display an enhanced resistance to B. cinerea, probably because oxidized CDs are a less valuable carbon source. Thus, the capacity to oxidize and impair the biological activity of cell wall‐derived oligosaccharides seems to be a general trait of the family of BBE‐like proteins, which may serve to homeostatically control the level of DAMPs to prevent their hyperaccumulation.
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