In Silico Analysis of Putative Sugar Transporter Genes in Aspergillus niger Using Phylogeny and Comparative Transcriptomics.
ABSTRACT: Aspergillus niger is one of the most widely used fungi to study the conversion of the lignocellulosic feedstocks into fermentable sugars. Understanding the sugar uptake system of A. niger is essential to improve the efficiency of the process of fungal plant biomass degradation. In this study, we report a comprehensive characterization of the sugar transportome of A. niger by combining phylogenetic and comparative transcriptomic analyses. We identified 86 putative sugar transporter (ST) genes based on a conserved protein domain search. All these candidates were then classified into nine subfamilies and their functional motifs and possible sugar-specificity were annotated according to phylogenetic analysis and literature mining. Furthermore, we comparatively analyzed the ST gene expression on a large set of fungal growth conditions including mono-, di- and polysaccharides, and mutants of transcriptional regulators. This revealed that transporter genes from the same phylogenetic clade displayed very diverse expression patterns and were regulated by different transcriptional factors. The genome-wide study of STs of A. niger provides new insights into the mechanisms underlying an extremely flexible metabolism and high nutritional versatility of A. niger and will facilitate further biochemical characterization and industrial applications of these candidate STs.
Project description:The development of biological processes that replace the existing petrochemical-based industry is one of the biggest challenges in biotechnology. Aspergillus niger is one of the main industrial producers of lignocellulolytic enzymes, which are used in the conversion of lignocellulosic feedstocks into fermentable sugars. Both the hydrolytic enzymes responsible for lignocellulose depolymerisation and the molecular mechanisms controlling their expression have been well described, but little is known about the transport systems for sugar uptake in A. niger. Understanding the transportome of A. niger is essential to achieve further improvements at strain and process design level. Therefore, this study aims to identify and classify A. niger sugar transporters, using newly developed tools for in silico and in vivo analysis of its membrane-associated proteome.In the present research work, a hidden Markov model (HMM), that shows a good performance in the identification and segmentation of functionally validated glucose transporters, was constructed. The model (HMMgluT) was used to analyse the A. niger membrane-associated proteome response to high and low glucose concentrations at a low pH. By combining the abundance patterns of the proteins found in the A. niger plasmalemma proteome with their HMMgluT scores, two new putative high-affinity glucose transporters, denoted MstG and MstH, were identified. MstG and MstH were functionally validated and biochemically characterised by heterologous expression in a S. cerevisiae glucose transport null mutant. They were shown to be a high-affinity glucose transporter (K m = 0.5 ± 0.04 mM) and a very high-affinity glucose transporter (K m = 0.06 ± 0.005 mM), respectively.This study, focusing for the first time on the membrane-associated proteome of the industrially relevant organism A. niger, shows the global response of the transportome to the availability of different glucose concentrations. Analysis of the A. niger transportome with the newly developed HMMgluT showed to be an efficient approach for the identification and classification of new glucose transporters.
Project description:Beyond comparative genomics, we identified 85 sugar transporter genes in Cordyceps militaris, clustering into nine subfamilies as sequence- and phylogenetic-based functional classification, presuming the versatile capability of the fungal growths on a range of sugars. Further analysis of the global gene expression patterns of C. militaris showed 123 genes were significantly expressed across the sucrose, glucose, and xylose cultures. The sugar transporters specific for pentose were then identified by gene-set enrichment analysis. Of them, the putative pentose transporter, CCM_06358 gene, was highest expressed in the xylose culture, and its functional role in xylose transport was discovered by the analysis of conserved structural motifs. In addition, a battery of molecular modeling methods, including homology modeling, transport pathway analysis, residue interaction network combined with molecular mechanics Poisson-Boltzmann surface area simulation (MM-PBSA), was implemented for probing the structure and function of the selected pentose transporter (CCM_06358) as a representative of sugar transportome in C. militaris. Considering the network bottlenecks and structural organizations, we further identified key amino acids (Phe38 and Trp441) and their interactions with other residues, contributing the xylose transport function, as verified by binding free energy calculation. The strategy used herein generated remarkably valuable biological information, which is applicable for the study of sugar transportome and the structure engineering of targeted transporter proteins that might link to the production of bioactive compounds derived from xylose metabolism, such as cordycepin.
Project description:Sugar from plant photosynthesis is a basic requirement for life activities. Sugar transporters are the proteins that mediate sugar allocation among or within source/sink organs. The transporters of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) targeting carbohydrates represent the largest family of sugar transporters in many plants. Strawberry (Fragaria?×?ananassa Duchesne) is an important crop appreciated worldwide for its unique fruit flavor. The involvement of MFS sugar transporters (STs) in cultivated strawberry fruit sugar accumulation is largely unknown. In this work, we characterized the genetic variation associated with fruit soluble sugars in a collection including 154 varieties. Then, a total of 67 ST genes were identified in the v4.0 genome integrated with the v4.0.a2 protein database of F. vesca, the dominant subgenome provider for modern cultivated strawberry. Phylogenetic analysis updated the nomenclature of strawberry ST homoeologs. Both the chromosomal distribution and structural characteristics of the ST family were improved. Semi-RT-PCR analysis in nine tissues from cv. Benihoppe screened 34 highly expressed ST genes in fruits. In three varieties with dramatically differing fruit sugar levels, qPCR integrated with correlation analysis between ST transcript abundance and sugar content identified 13 sugar-correlated genes. The correlations were re-evaluated across 19 varieties, including major commercial cultivars grown in China. Finally, a model of the contribution of the sugar transporter system to subcellular sugar allocation in strawberry fruits was proposed. Our work highlights the involvement of STs in controlling strawberry fruit soluble sugars and provides candidates for the future functional study of STs in strawberry development and responses and a new approach for strawberry genetic engineering and molecular breeding.
Project description:A sugar-transporter-encoding gene, mstA, which is a member of the major facilitator superfamily, has been cloned from a genomic DNA library of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus niger. To enable the functional characterization of MSTA, a full-length cDNA was expressed in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain deficient in hexose uptake. Uptake experiments using 14C-labelled monosaccharides demonstrated that although able to transport D-fructose ( K(m), 4.5+/-1.0 mM), D-xylose ( K(m), 0.3+/-0.1 mM) and D-mannose ( K(m), 60+/-20 microM), MSTA has a preference for D-glucose (K(m), 25+/-10 microM). pH changes associated with sugar transport indicate that MSTA catalyses monosaccharide/H+ symport. Expression of mstA in response to carbon starvation and upon transfer to poor carbon sources is consistent with a role for MSTA as a high-affinity transporter for D-glucose, D-mannose and D-xylose. Northern analysis has shown that mstA is subject to CreA-mediated carbon catabolite repression and pH regulation mediated by PacC. A. niger strains in which the mstA gene had been disrupted are phenotypically identical with isogenic reference strains when grown on 0.1-60 mM D-glucose, D-mannose, D-fructose or D-xylose. This indicates that A. niger possesses other transporters capable of compensating for the absence of MSTA.
Project description:Aspergillus niger produces a wide spectrum of extracellular polysaccharide hydrolases that hydrolyze cellulose into soluble glucose and cellodextrins. Transporters are essential for sugar uptake, yet it is not clear whether cellodextrin transporters exist in A. niger. Here, one cellulose inducible cellodextrin transporter CtA was identified in A. niger B2. It was found that CtA not only could transport cellobiose, but also cellotriose, cellotetraose, and cellopentaose. The yeast strain YP?G-CtA, expressing cellodextrin transporter CtA and an intracellular ?-glucosidase, grew on cellobiose with the cell growth rate of 0.0830 ± 0.0113 h-1 under aerobic condition. Furthermore, the engineered yeast could produce 1.1 g/L ethanol anaerobically on cellobiose in 2 days. The identification of CtA provides evidence that the cellodextrin uptake is a complementary strategy of cellulose utilization in A. niger, and the CtA could be a strong transporter candidate for constructing engineered cellodextrin-utilizing microorganisms.
Project description:The expression of inulinolytic genes in Aspergillus niger is co-regulated and induced by inulin and sucrose. We have identified a positive acting transcription factor InuR, which is required for the induced expression of inulinolytic genes. InuR is a member of the fungal specific class of transcription factors of the Zn(II)2Cys6 type. Involvement of InuR in inulin and sucrose metabolism was suspected because of the clustering of inuR gene with sucB, which encodes an intracellular invertase with transfructosylation activity and a putative sugar transporter encoding gene (An15g00310). Deletion of the inuR gene resulted in a strain displaying a severe reduction in growth on inulin and sucrose medium. Northern analysis revealed that expression of inulinolytic and sucrolytic genes, e.g., inuE, inuA, sucA, as well as the putative sugar transporter gene (An15g00310) is dependent on InuR. Genome-wide expression analysis revealed, three additional putative sugar transporters encoding genes (An15g04060, An15g03940 and An17g01710), which were strongly induced by sucrose in an InuR dependent way. In silico analysis of the promoter sequences of strongly InuR regulated genes suggests that InuR might bind as dimer to two CGG triplets, which are separated by eight nucleotides.
Project description:Galactofuranose (Galf)-containing glycostructures are important to secure the integrity of the fungal cell wall. Golgi-localized Galf-transferases (Gfs) have been identified in Aspergillus nidulans and Aspergillus fumigatus. BLASTp searches identified three putative Galf-transferases in Aspergillus niger. Phylogenetic analysis showed that they group in three distinct groups. Characterization of the three Galf-transferases in A. niger by constructing single, double, and triple mutants revealed that gfsA is most important for Galf biosynthesis. The growth phenotypes of the ?gfsA mutant are less severe than that of the ?gfsAC mutant, indicating that GfsA and GfsC have redundant functions. Deletion of gfsB did not result in any growth defect and combining ?gfsB with other deletion mutants did not exacerbate the growth phenotype. RT-qPCR experiments showed that induction of the agsA gene was higher in the ?gfsAC and ?gfsABC compared to the single mutants, indicating a severe cell wall stress response after multiple gfs gene deletions.
Project description:The study of plant biomass utilization by fungi is a research field of great interest due to its many implications in ecology, agriculture and biotechnology. Most of the efforts done to increase the understanding of the use of plant cell walls by fungi have been focused on the degradation of cellulose and hemicellulose, and transport and metabolism of their constituent monosaccharides. Pectin is another important constituent of plant cell walls, but has received less attention. In relation to the uptake of pectic building blocks, fungal transporters for the uptake of galacturonic acid recently have been reported in Aspergillus niger and Neurospora crassa. However, not a single L-rhamnose (6-deoxy-L-mannose) transporter has been identified yet in fungi or in other eukaryotic organisms. L-rhamnose is a deoxy-sugar present in plant cell wall pectic polysaccharides (mainly rhamnogalacturonan I and rhamnogalacturonan II), but is also found in diverse plant secondary metabolites (e.g. anthocyanins, flavonoids and triterpenoids), in the green seaweed sulfated polysaccharide ulvan, and in glycan structures from viruses and bacteria. Here, a comparative plasmalemma proteomic analysis was used to identify candidate L-rhamnose transporters in A. niger. Further analysis was focused on protein ID 1119135 (RhtA) (JGI A. niger ATCC 1015 genome database). RhtA was classified as a Family 7 Fucose: H+ Symporter (FHS) within the Major Facilitator Superfamily. Family 7 currently includes exclusively bacterial transporters able to use different sugars. Strong indications for its role in L-rhamnose transport were obtained by functional complementation of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae EBY.VW.4000 strain in growth studies with a range of potential substrates. Biochemical analysis using L-[3H(G)]-rhamnose confirmed that RhtA is a L-rhamnose transporter. The RhtA gene is located in tandem with a hypothetical alpha-L-rhamnosidase gene (rhaB). Transcriptional analysis of rhtA and rhaB confirmed that both genes have a coordinated expression, being strongly and specifically induced by L-rhamnose, and controlled by RhaR, a transcriptional regulator involved in the release and catabolism of the methyl-pentose. RhtA is the first eukaryotic L-rhamnose transporter identified and functionally validated to date.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Global climate change and fossil fuels limitations have boosted the demand for robust and efficient microbial factories for the manufacturing of bio-based products from renewable feedstocks. In this regard, efforts have been done to enhance the enzyme-secreting ability of lignocellulose-degrading fungi, aiming to improve protein yields while taking advantage of their ability to use lignocellulosic feedstocks. Access to sugars in complex polysaccharides depends not only on their release by specific hydrolytic enzymes, but also on the presence of transporters capable of effectively transporting the constituent sugars into the cell. This study aims to identify and characterize xylose transporters from Aspergillus niger and Trichoderma reesei, two fungi that have been industrially exploited for decades for the production of lignocellulose-degrading hydrolytic enzymes. RESULTS:A hidden Markov model for the identification of xylose transporters was developed and used to analyze the A. niger and T. reesei in silico proteomes, yielding a list of candidate xylose transporters. From this list, three A. niger (XltA, XltB and XltC) and three T. reesei (Str1, Str2 and Str3) transporters were selected, functionally validated and biochemically characterized through their expression in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae hexose transport null mutant, engineered to be able to metabolize xylose but unable to transport this sugar. All six transporters were able to support growth of the engineered yeast on xylose but varied in affinities and efficiencies in the uptake of the pentose. Amino acid sequence analysis of the selected transporters showed the presence of specific residues and motifs recently associated to xylose transporters. Transcriptional analysis of A. niger and T. reesei showed that XltA and Str1 were specifically induced by xylose and dependent on the XlnR/Xyr1 regulators, signifying a biological role for these transporters in xylose utilization. CONCLUSIONS:This study revealed the existence of a variety of xylose transporters in the cell factories A. niger and T. reesei. The particular substrate specificity and biochemical properties displayed by A. niger XltA and XltB suggested a possible biological role for these transporters in xylose uptake. New insights were also gained into the molecular mechanisms regulating the pentose utilization, at inducer uptake level, in these fungi. Analysis of the A. niger and T. reesei predicted transportome with the newly developed hidden Markov model showed to be an efficient approach for the identification of new xylose transporting proteins.
Project description:Xylanase is a hemicellulase enzyme that catalyses the hydrolysis of xylan to xylose which is widely used in processing of feed, pulp and paper. It is produced by many microorganisms especially filamentous fungi like Trichoderma and Aspergillus. A potential xylanolytic fungal isolate Aspergillus niger was isolated from forest soils of Tirumala, AP, India, and its crude enzyme was checked for its potential in paper bleaching. Under submerged fermentation, production of xylanase, cellulase, biomass, total protein and sugar released were analysed after 7 days of incubation at room temperature. Maximum enzyme activity was recorded on the fifth day of incubation, biomass after the seventh day, total protein and sugar released on the sixth day of incubation. Enzyme pretreatment of paper reduced 3.5 points in kappa number, 3.1 points increase in brightness and removal of chromophores and hydrophobic compounds. The FTIR and SEM analysis of enzyme-treated sample had shown modification in surface morphology and functional groups. These results clearly demonstrated that the xylanase produced by A. niger was effective as a pulp biobleaching agent which can be used on an industrial scale.