Xanthomonas plant pathogens can infect hundreds of agricultural plants. These bacteria exploit sophisticated molecular strategies based on multiple secretion systems and their associated virulence factors to overcome the plant defenses, including the physical barrier imposed by the plant cell walls and the innate immune system. Xanthomonads are equipped with a broad and diverse repertoire of Carbohydrate-Active enZymes (CAZymes), which besides enabling the utilization of complex plant carbohydrates as carbon and energy source, can also play pivotal roles in virulence and bacterial lifestyle in the host. CAZymes in xanthomonads are often organized in multienzymatic systems similar to the Polysaccharide Utilization Loci (PUL) from Bacteroidetes known as CUT systems (from Carbohydrate Utilization systems associated with TonB-dependent transporters). Xanthomonas bacteria are also recognized to synthesize distinct exopolysaccharides including xanthan gum and untapped exopolysaccharides associated with biofilm formation. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the multifaceted roles of CAZymes in xanthomonads, connecting their function with pathogenicity and tissue specificity.

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