Chitosan is a versatile compound with multiple biotechnological applications. This polymer inhibits clinically important human fungal pathogens under the same carbon and nitrogen status as in blood. Chitosan permeabilises their high-fluidity plasma membrane and increases production of intracellular oxygen species (ROS). Conversely, chitosan is compatible with mammalian cell lines as well as with biocontrol fungi (BCF). BCF resistant to chitosan have low-fluidity membranes and high glucan/chitin ratios in their cell walls. Recent studies illustrate molecular and physiological basis of chitosan-root interactions. Chitosan induces auxin accumulation in Arabidopsis
roots. This polymer causes overexpression of tryptophan-dependent auxin biosynthesis pathway. It also blocks auxin translocation in roots. Chitosan is a plant defense modulator. Endophytes and fungal pathogens evade plant immunity converting chitin into chitosan. LysM effectors shield chitin and protect fungal cell walls from plant chitinases. These enzymes together with fungal chitin deacetylases, chitosanases and effectors play determinant roles during fungal colonization of plants. This review describes chitosan mode of action (cell and gene targets) in fungi and plants. This knowledge will help to develop chitosan for agrobiotechnological and medical applications.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited