Plant chitinases play a key role in conferring resistance to environmental stresses, including attack by fungal pathogens. In the present study, we employed rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) to identify five chitinase genes in Populus canadensis Moench. Sequence alignment revealed that these genes belong to five subfamilies of chitinase genes. The full-length cDNAs of these genes ranged in size from 991 to 1358 bp and encoded proteins with mol wts from 29.5 to 40.3 kD. Five genes were grouped into three major clades based on amino acid sequences of encoded proteins. Exon-intron gene structure and protein domain analysis further supported the designation. A three-dimensional structure comparison showed the high similarity between five P. canadensis chitinases and three well-studied chitinases from other species. The expression levels of all five genes were up-regulated during Populus infection with the pathogenic fungus Marssonina brunnea, and four of them were highly induced by salt and drought stresses. Furthermore, such factors as elicitors, wounding, and low temperature also elevated the expression of these chitinase genes to varying extents. We postulated that these chitinase genes may be involved in pathways of the defense against fungal infection and function in response to various abiotic stresses.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 22, 2013
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