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Functional characterization of T. atroviride chitinases belong to group B5
I am a young researcher with over seven-year hand on experience in the area of plant molecular biology and plant genetics. I have been working here since April 2010 and interested to understand the physiological roles of chitinases in biocontrol agent T. atroviride.
Chitin, a homopolymer of N-acetylglucosamine monomers (GlcNAc) linked by β-1, 4-glucosidic bonds, is the second most abundant polymer after cellulose found in the nature. It is one of the major structural components of filamentous fungi cell wall and help to maintain the overall integrity. The polymer of chitin is degraded by chitinases (EC 184.108.40.206) in to oligomers, dimers and monomers by hydrolyzing the bonds between GlcNAc residues.
The possible roles of fungal chitinases includes cell wall remodelling during the growth and morphogenesis, autolysis of older parts of fungal mycelia and exogenous chitin degradation for nutritional purpose. Most importantly, some aggressive filamentous fungi use chitinases to attack other organisms like fungi (mycoparasitism), insects (entomophagous) and nematodes (nematophagous) for nutrition by degrading the cell wall, hence being used as biocontrol agent.
Whole genome sequencing of T. atroviride has revealed 29 chitinase in its genome. But the physiological functions of those chitinases have not been fully elucidated yet. Currently we are aiming to understand the role of chitinases belongs to subgroup B5 by studying their transcriptional regulation, under different nutritional/stress and mycoparasitic conditions, and generating gene knockout mutants.
Mycoparasitism of T. atroviride against plant pathogenic fungi R. solani. Image was taken after 4 days of inoculation. R- Rhizoctonia solani, T-Trichoderma atroviride (Photo by Mukesh Dubey).