Analysis of a cellulose synthase catalytic subunit from the oomycete pathogen of crops Phytophthora capsici

Zhili Pang, Lauren S. McKee, Vaibhav Srivastava, Stefan Klinter, Sara M. Díaz-Moreno, Peter Orlean, Xili Liu, Vincent Bulone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


Phytophthora capsici Leonian is an important oomycete pathogen of crop vegetables, causing significant economic losses each year. Its cell wall, rich in cellulose, is vital for cellular integrity and for interactions with the host organisms. Predicted cellulose synthase (CesA) proteins are expected to catalyze the polymerization of cellulose, but this has not been biochemically demonstrated in an oomycete. Here, we present the properties of the four newly identified CesA proteins from P. capsici and compare their domain organization with that of CesAs from other lineages. Using a newly constructed glucosyltransferase-deficient variant of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with low residual background activity, we have achieved successful heterologous expression and biochemical characterization of a CesA protein from P. capsici (PcCesA1). Our results demonstrate that the individual PcCesA1 enzyme produces cellobiose as the major reaction product. Co-immunoprecipitation studies and activity assays revealed that several PcCesA proteins interact together to form a complex whose multiproteic nature is most likely required for cellulose microfibril formation. In addition to providing important insights into cellulose synthesis in the oomycetes, our data may assist the longer term identification of cell wall biosynthesis inhibitors to control infection by pathogenic oomycetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8551-8565
Number of pages15
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell wall biosynthesis
  • Cellulose synthase
  • Crop pathogen
  • Oomycete
  • Phytophthora capsici


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