Expansin-related proteins: Biology, microbe–plant interactions and associated plant-defense responses

Delia A. Narváez-Barragán, Omar E. Tovar-Herrera, Lorenzo Segovia, Mario Serrano, Claudia Martinez-Anaya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Expansins, cerato-platanins and swollenins (which we will henceforth refer to as expansin-related proteins) are a group of microbial proteins involved in microbe-plant interactions. Although they share very low sequence similarity, some of their composing domains are near-identical at the structural level. Expansin-related proteins have their target in the plant cell wall, in which they act through a non-enzymatic, but still uncharacterized, mechanism. In most cases, mutagenesis of expansin-related genes affects plant colonization or plant pathogenesis of different bacterial and fungal species, and thus, in many cases they are considered virulence factors. Additionally, plant treatment with expansin-related proteins activate several plant defenses resulting in the priming and protection towards subsequent pathogen encounters. Plant-defence responses induced by these proteins are reminiscent of pattern-triggered immunity or hypersensitive response in some cases. Plant immunity to expansinrelated proteins could be caused by the following: (i) protein detection by specific host-cell receptors, (ii) alterations to the cell-wall-barrier properties sensed by the host, (iii) displacement of cell-wall polysaccharides detected by the host. Expansinrelated proteins may also target polysaccharides on the wall of the microbes that produced them under certain physiological instances. Here, we review biochemical, evolutionary and biological aspects of these relatively understudied proteins and different immune responses they induce in plant hosts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number000984
Pages (from-to)1007-1018
Number of pages12
JournalMicrobiology (United Kingdom)
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Cerato-platanin
  • Expansin
  • Plant immunity
  • Plant–microbe interactionx
  • Swollenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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