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A total of 36 UV-induced mutants with altered colony morphology were isolated from strain Trichoderma harzianum T334, a potential biocontrol agent against plant pathogenic fungi with the ability to produce constitutively low levels of chitinases. The level of constitutive β -1,4- N -acetyl-glucosaminidase production in standing and shaken cultures under non-inductive conditions was tested in mutants and compared to that of the parental strain. About 30% of the mutants showed significantly increased levels of enzyme production, with strain T334 col26a being the best producer. This mutant and the parental strain were subjected to in vitro confrontation assays with plant pathogenic Fusarium culmorum, Pythium debaryanum and Rhizoctonia solani strains. The mutant derivative could be characterized by significantly higher biocontrol index values than the parental strain in each experiment, suggesting, that mutants with improved constitutive extracellular chitinase secretion could be applied for biocontrol purposes against fungal plant pathogens.

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Acta Biologica Hungarica
Authors: L. Kredics, Kata Terecskei, Zsuzsanna Antal, A. Szekeres, L. Hatvani, L. Manczinger, and Cs. Vágvölgyi

Eleven cold-tolerant Trichoderma isolates were screened for the production of proteolytic activities at 10 °C. Based on the activity profiles determined with paranitroanilide substrates at 5 °C, strain T221 identified as Trichoderma atroviride was selected for further investigations. The culture broth of the strain grown at 10 °C in casein-containing culture medium was concentrated by lyophilization and subjected to gel filtration, which was followed by chromatofocusing of the fraction showing the highest activity on N -benzoyl-Phe-Val-Arg-paranitroanilide. The purified enzyme had a molecular weight of 24 kDa, an isoelectric point of 7.3 and a pH optimum of 6.2. The temperature optimum of 25 °C and the low thermal stability suggested that it is a true cold-adapted enzyme. Substrate specificity data indicate that the enzyme is a proteinase with a preference for Arg or Lys at the P1 position. The effect of proteinase inhibitors suggests that the enzyme has a binding pocket similar to the one present in trypsin.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: L. Kredics, Zsuzsanna Antal, A. Szekeres, L. Hatvani, L. Manczinger, Cs. Vágvölgyi, and Erzsébet Nagy

Cellulolytic, xylanolytic, chitinolytic and b-1,3-glucanolytic enzyme systems of species belonging to the filamentous fungal genus Trichoderma have been investigated in details and are well characterised. The ability of Trichoderma strains to produce extracellular proteases has also been known for a long time, however, the proteolytic enzyme system is relatively unknown in this genus. Fortunately, in the recent years more and more attention is focused on the research in this field. The role of Trichoderma proteases in the biological control of plant pathogenic fungi and nematodes has been demonstrated, and it is also suspected that they may be important for the competitive saprophytic ability of green mould isolates and may represent potential virulence factors of Trichoderma strains as emerging fungal pathogens of clinical importance. The aim of this review is to summarize the information available about the extracellular proteases of Trichoderma. Numerous studies are available about the extracellular proteolytic enzyme profiles of Trichoderma strains and about the effect of abiotic environmental factors on protease activities. A number of protease enzymes have been purified to homogeneity and some protease encoding genes have been cloned and characterized. These results will be reviewed and the role of Trichoderma proteases in biological control as well as their advantages and disadvantages in biotechnology will be discussed.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: A. Szekeres, B. Leitgeb, L. Kredics, Zsuzsanna Antal, L. Hatvani, L. Manczinger, and Cs. Vágvölgyi

Peptaibols and the related peptaibiotics are linear, amphipathic polypeptides. More than 300 of these secondary metabolites have been described to date. These compounds are composed of 5-20 amino acids and are generally produced in microheterogeneous mixtures. Peptaibols and peptaibiotics with unusual amino acid content are the result of non-ribosomal biosynthesis. Large multifunctional enzymes known as peptide synthetases assemble these molecules by the multiple carrier thiotemplate mechanism from a remarkable range of precursors, which can be N-methylated, acylated or reduced. Peptaibols and peptaibiotics show interesting physico-chemical and biological properties including the formation of pores in bilayer lipid membranes, as well as antibacterial, antifungal, occasionally antiviral activities, and may elicit plant resistance. The three-dimensional structure of peptaibols and pep­taibiotics is characterized predominantly by one type of the helical motifs a-helix, 310-helix and b-bend ribbon spiral. The aim of this review is to summarize the data available about the biosynthesis, biological activity and conformational properties of peptaibols and peptaibiotics described from Trichoderma species.

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Acta Microbiologica et Immunologica Hungarica
Authors: Zsuzsanna Antal, L. Kredics, J. Pakarinen, Ilona Dóczi, Maria Andersson, Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen, L. Manczinger, A. Szekeres, L. Hatvani, C. Vágvölgyi, and Elisabeth Nagy

Potential virulence factors of 9 saprophytic and 12 clinical Trichoderma longibrachiatum strains were examined in the present study, in order to compare their capacity to cause infection in humans. All of the strains were able to grow at temperatures up to 40 °C and at pH values ranging from 2.0 to 9.0. Carbon and nitrogen source utilization experiments revealed that all of the strains were able to utilize a series of basic amino acids both as sole carbon and nitrogen sources. The MIC values of the tested antifungal drugs were found to be 0.016-8 µg/ml for amphotericin B, 64-256 µg/ml for fluconazole, 0.5-32 µg/ml for itraconazole and 0.008-1 µg/ml for ketoconazole in the case of the examinedis olates. Metabolites of the strains inhibited the growth of different bacteria, furthermore, compounds produced by three clinical isolates reduced the motility of boar spermatozoa, indicating their toxicity to mammalian cells as well. On the whole, there were no significant differences in the examined features between strains derived from clinical or soil samples. The question, however, whether all environmental Trichoderma longibrachiatum strains have the capacity to cause infections or not, remains still unanswered.

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