CURRENT GENETICS, vol.61, no.2, pp.103-113, 2015 (SCI-Expanded)
LysM motifs are carbohydrate-binding modules found in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. They bind to N-acetylglucosamine-containing carbohydrates, such as chitin, chitio-oligosaccharides and peptidoglycan. In this review, we summarize the features of the protein architecture of LysM-containing proteins in fungi and discuss their so far known biochemical properties, transcriptional profiles and biological functions. Further, based on data from evolutionary analyses and consensus pattern profiling of fungal LysM motifs, we show that they can be classified into a fungal-specific group and a fungal/bacterial group. This facilitates the classification and selection of further LysM proteins for detailed analyses and will contribute to widening our understanding of the functional spectrum of this protein family in fungi. Fungal LysM motifs are predominantly found in subgroup C chitinases and in LysM effector proteins, which are secreted proteins with LysM motifs but no catalytic domains. In enzymes, LysM motifs mediate the attachment to insoluble carbon sources. In plants, receptors containing LysM motifs are responsible for the perception of chitin-oligosaccharides and are involved in beneficial symbiotic interactions between plants and bacteria or fungi, as well as plant defence responses. In plant pathogenic fungi, LysM effector proteins have already been shown to have important functions in the dampening of host defence responses as well as protective functions of fungal hyphae against chitinases. However, the large number and diversity of proteins with LysM motifs that are being unravelled in fungal genome sequencing projects suggest that the functional repertoire of LysM effector proteins in fungi is only partially discovered so far.