The adsorption of radioactive mucilage by pathogenic fungi was shown to be dependent upon time, the composition of mucilage, the type of fungal surface (conidia, hyphae, hyphal apices), fungal species, pH and bivalent cations. All fungal adhesins were inactivated by either proteinase or polysaccharase treatments. Adsorption was not inhibited by the numberous mono-, di- and oligo-saccharides that were tested individually, but it was inhibited absolutely by several polysaccharides. This suggested that adsorption of mucilage by pathogens involved conformational and ionic interactions between plant and fungal polymers but not fungal lectins bound to sugar residues of mucilage. Several fractionation schemes showed that pathogens bound only the most acidic of the variety of polymers that comprise mucilage. There was not any absolute distinction between ability to bind radioactive mucilage and type of pathogen or non-pathogen. However, there were notable differences in characteristics of adsorption between two types of pathogen. Differences were revealed by comparison of the adsorption capacities of conidia and germinant conidia and chromatography of radioactive mucilage on germinant conidia. An ectotrophic root-infecting fungus (a highly specialized pathogen) bound a greater proportion of mucilage than did a vascular-wilt fungus (of catholic host and tissue range) with more than one class of site for adsorption. In contrast with the vascular-wilt fungus, sites for adsorption on the specialized pathogen were present solely on surfaces formed by germination.
- © 1986 London: The Biochemical Society