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Fungi produce a variety of carbohydrate activity enzymes (CAZymes) for the degradation of plant polysaccharide materials to facilitate infection and/or gain nutrition. Identifying and comparing CAZymes from fungi with different nutritional modes or infection mechanisms may provide information for better understanding of their life styles and infection models. To date, over hundreds of fungal genomes are publicly available. However, a systematic comparative analysis of fungal CAZymes across the entire fungal kingdom has not been reported.


In this study, we systemically identified glycoside hydrolases (GHs), polysaccharide lyases (PLs), carbohydrate esterases (CEs), and glycosyltransferases (GTs) as well as carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) in the predicted proteomes of 103 representative fungi from Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, and Zygomycota. Comparative analysis of these CAZymes that play major roles in plant polysaccharide degradation revealed that fungi exhibit tremendous diversity in the number and variety of CAZymes. Among them, some families of GHs and CEs are the most prevalent CAZymes that are distributed in all of the fungi analyzed. Importantly, cellulases of some GH families are present in fungi that are not known to have cellulose-degrading ability. In addition, our results also showed that in general, plant pathogenic fungi have the highest number of CAZymes. Biotrophic fungi tend to have fewer CAZymes than necrotrophic and hemibiotrophic fungi. Pathogens of dicots often contain more pectinases than fungi infecting monocots. Interestingly, besides yeasts, many saprophytic fungi that are highly active in degrading plant biomass contain fewer CAZymes than plant pathogenic fungi. Furthermore, analysis of the gene expression profile of the wheat scab fungus Fusarium graminearum revealed that most of the CAZyme genes related to cell wall degradation were up-regulated during plant infection. Phylogenetic analysis also revealed a complex history of lineage-specific expansions and attritions for the PL1 family.


Our study provides insights into the variety and expansion of fungal CAZyme classes and revealed the relationship of CAZyme size and diversity with their nutritional strategy and host specificity.


This is the publisher pdf of Zhongtao Zhao, Huiquan Liu, Chenfang Wang, Jin-Rong Xu. Correction: Comparative Analysis of Fungal Genomes Reveals Different Plant Cell Wall Degrading Capacity in Fungi. BMC Genomics 2014, 15:6 (14 January 2014) and is available at: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-274.


Fungi; CAZymes; Glycoside Hydrolase; Polysaccharide Lyase; Carbohydrate Esterase; Pectinase; Cutinase; Lignocellulase

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