Botrytis cinerea Transcription Factor BcXyr1 Regulates (Hemi-) Cellulase Production and Fungal Virulence

Liang Ma*, Tong Liu, Ke Zhang, Haojie Shi, Lei Zhang, Gen Zou, Amir Sharon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Botrytis cinerea is an agriculturally notorious plant-pathogenic fungus with a broad host range. During plant colonization, B. cinerea secretes a wide range of plant-cell-wall-degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) that help in macerating the plant tissue, but their role in pathogenicity has been unclear. Here, we report on the identification of a transcription factor, BcXyr1, that regulates the production of (hemi-)cellulases and is necessary for fungal virulence. Deletion of the bcxyr1 gene led to impaired spore germination and reduced fungal virulence and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in planta. Secreted proteins collected from the bcxyr1 deletion strain displayed a weaker cell-death-inducing effect than the wild-type secretome when infiltrated to Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis revealed 41 genes with reduced expression in the Dbcxyr1 mutant compared with those in the wild-type strain, of which half encode secreted proteins that are particularly enriched in carbohydrate-active enzyme (CAZyme)-encoding genes. Among them, we identified a novel putative expansin-like protein that was necessary for fungal virulence, supporting the involvement of BcXyr1 in the regulation of extracellular virulence factors.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • (hemi-)cellulase
  • BcExl1
  • BcXyr1
  • Botrytis cinerea
  • PCWDEs
  • transcription factor
  • virulence


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