Overexpression of an endochitinase gene (ThEn-42) in Trichoderma atroviride for increased production of antifungal enzymes and enhanced antagonist action against pathogenic fungi

Shiping Deng, Matteo Lorito, Merja Penttilä, Gary E. Harman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Trichoderma is one of the most promising biocontrol agents against plant fungal diseases. In this study, a transgenic strain of Trichoderma atroviride was characterized. The transgenic strain contains an endochitinase gene (ThEn-42) driven by the cellulase promoter cbh1 of T. reesei for overexpression of ThEn-42. The culture filtrates of the transformant and the parental strain grown in eight different media were evaluated for chitinase and antifungal enzyme production based on activity gels, protein profiles, and antifungal activities. Results demonstrated that chitinases are important components and synergistic interactions play a key role in the antagonistic action of T. atroviride. Moreover, altering medium nutrient concentration and composition led to enhanced production of antifungal enzymes, a potential strategy for mass production. Two of the culture filtrates contained almost pure endochitinase, and could be excellent commercial sources for this enzyme. Several culture filtrates were highly antifungal. Two filtrates were so effective in biocontrol of a fungal pathogen, Penicillium digitatum, that they not only inhibited spore germination but destroyed the spores completely when 20 μl of culture filtrate (corresponding to approximately 104 μg of total protein) was applied in a total volume of 150 μl (approximately 0.7 mg protein ml-1).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed



  • Biocontrol
  • Chitinase
  • Gene expression
  • Synergistic interaction
  • Trichoderma spp

Cite this