The regulatory and transcriptional landscape associated with carbon utilization in a filamentous fungus.
ABSTRACT: Filamentous fungi, such as Neurospora crassa, are very efficient in deconstructing plant biomass by the secretion of an arsenal of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes, by remodeling metabolism to accommodate production of secreted enzymes, and by enabling transport and intracellular utilization of plant biomass components. Although a number of enzymes and transcriptional regulators involved in plant biomass utilization have been identified, how filamentous fungi sense and integrate nutritional information encoded in the plant cell wall into a regulatory hierarchy for optimal utilization of complex carbon sources is not understood. Here, we performed transcriptional profiling of N. crassa on 40 different carbon sources, including plant biomass, to provide data on how fungi sense simple to complex carbohydrates. From these data, we identified regulatory factors in N. crassa and characterized one (PDR-2) associated with pectin utilization and one with pectin/hemicellulose utilization (ARA-1). Using in vitro DNA affinity purification sequencing (DAP-seq), we identified direct targets of transcription factors involved in regulating genes encoding plant cell wall-degrading enzymes. In particular, our data clarified the role of the transcription factor VIB-1 in the regulation of genes encoding plant cell wall-degrading enzymes and nutrient scavenging and revealed a major role of the carbon catabolite repressor CRE-1 in regulating the expression of major facilitator transporter genes. These data contribute to a more complete understanding of cross talk between transcription factors and their target genes, which are involved in regulating nutrient sensing and plant biomass utilization on a global level.
Project description:Filamentous fungi are powerful producers of hydrolytic enzymes for the deconstruction of plant cell wall polysaccharides. However, the central question of how these sugars are perceived in the context of the complex cell wall matrix remains largely elusive. To address this question in a systematic fashion we performed an extensive comparative systems analysis of how the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa responds to the three main cell wall polysaccharides: pectin, hemicellulose and cellulose. We found the pectic response to be largely independent of the cellulolytic one with some overlap to hemicellulose, and in its extent surprisingly high, suggesting advantages for the fungus beyond being a mere carbon source. Our approach furthermore allowed us to identify carbon source-specific adaptations, such as the induction of the unfolded protein response on cellulose, and a commonly induced set of 29 genes likely involved in carbon scouting. Moreover, by hierarchical clustering we generated a coexpression matrix useful for the discovery of new components involved in polysaccharide utilization. This is exemplified by the identification of lat-1, which we demonstrate to encode for the physiologically relevant arabinose transporter in Neurospora. The analyses presented here are an important step towards understanding fungal degradation processes of complex biomass.
Project description:Filamentous fungi are powerful producers of hydrolytic enzymes for the deconstruction of plant cell wall polysaccharides. However, the central question of how these sugars are perceived in the context of the complex cell wall matrix remains largely elusive. To address this question in a systematic fashion we performed an extensive comparative systems analysis of how the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa responds to the three main cell wall polysaccharides: pectin, hemicellulose and cellulose. We found the pectic response to be largely independent of the cellulolytic one with some overlap to hemicellulose, and in its extent surprisingly high, suggesting advantages for the fungus beyond being a mere carbon source. Our approach furthermore allowed us to identify carbon source-specific adaptations, such as the induction of the unfolded protein response on cellulose, and a commonly induced set of 29 genes likely involved in carbon scouting. Moreover, by hierarchical clustering we generated a co-expression matrix useful for the discovery of new components involved in polysaccharide utilization. This is exemplified by the identification of lat-1, which we demonstrate to encode for the physiologically relevant arabinose transporter in Neurospora. The analyses presented here are an important step towards understanding fungal degradation processes of complex biomass. Our data are based on carbon source transfer experiments. For this, N. crassa pregrown in sucrose for 16 hrs was washed in media without carbon and then transferred to either pectin, orange peel powder (OPP), xylan, Avicel (cellulose), sucrose, or media without carbon (NoC) for another 4 hrs. Biological triplicates (pectin, Avicel, sucrose, NoC) or duplicates (OPP) were used to identify differentially expressed genes in WT. For xylan only a single library was prepared, which was found to correlate well with previously published microarray data (Sun et al. 2012; doi: 10.1128/EC.05327-11)
Project description:Improving cellulolytic enzyme production by plant biomass degrading fungi holds great potential in reducing costs associated with production of next-generation biofuels generated from lignocellulose. How fungi sense cellulosic materials and respond by secreting enzymes has mainly been examined by assessing function of transcriptional regulators and via transcriptional profiling. Here, we obtained global proteomic and phosphoproteomic profiles of the plant biomass degrading filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa grown on different carbon sources, i.e. sucrose, no carbon, and cellulose, by performing isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantification (iTRAQ)-based LC-MS/MS analyses. A comparison between proteomes and transcriptomes under identical carbon conditions suggests that extensive post-transcriptional regulation occurs in N. crassa in response to exposure to cellulosic material. Several hundred amino acid residues with differential phosphorylation levels on crystalline cellulose (Avicel) or carbon-free medium vs sucrose medium were identified, including phosphorylation sites in a major transcriptional activator for cellulase genes, CLR1, as well as a cellobionic acid transporter, CBT1. Mutation of phosphorylation sites on CLR1 did not have a major effect on transactivation of cellulase production, while mutation of phosphorylation sites in CBT1 increased its transporting capacity. Our data provides rich information at both the protein and phosphorylation levels of the early cellular responses to carbon starvation and cellulosic induction and aids in a greater understanding of the underlying post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms in filamentous fungi.
Project description:Fungi play a major role in the global carbon cycle because of their ability to utilize plant biomass (polysaccharides, proteins, and lignin) as carbon source. Due to the complexity and heterogenic composition of plant biomass, fungi need to produce a broad range of degrading enzymes, matching the composition of (part of) the prevalent substrate. This process is dependent on a network of regulators that not only control the extracellular enzymes that degrade the biomass, but also the metabolic pathways needed to metabolize the resulting monomers. This review will summarize the current knowledge on regulation of plant biomass utilization in fungi and compare the differences between fungal species, focusing in particular on the presence or absence of the regulators involved in this process.
Project description:Marine fungi associated with macroalgae are an ecologically important group that have a strong potential for industrial applications. In this study, twenty-two marine fungi isolated from the brown seaweed Fucus sp. were examined for their abilities to produce algal and plant biomass degrading enzymes. Growth of these isolates on brown and green algal biomass revealed a good growth, but no preference for any specific algae. Based on the analysis of enzymatic activities, macroalgae derived fungi were able to produce algae specific and (hemi-)cellulose degrading enzymes both on algal and plant biomass. However, the production of algae specific activities was lower than the production of cellulases and xylanases. These data revealed the presence of different enzymatic approaches for the degradation of algal biomass by macroalgae derived fungi. In addition, the results of the present study indicate our poor understanding of the enzymes involved in algal biomass degradation and the mechanisms of algal carbon source utilization by marine derived fungi.
Project description:Filamentous fungi are the main source of enzymes used to degrade lignocellulose to fermentable sugars for the production of biofuels. While the most commonly used organism for the production of cellulases in an industrial setting is Trichoderma reesei (Hypocrea jecorina), recent work in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa has shown that the variety of molecular, genetic and biochemical techniques developed for this organism can expedite analyses of the complexities involved in the utilization of lignocellulose as a source of carbon. These include elucidating regulatory networks associated with plant cell wall deconstruction, the identification of signaling molecules necessary for induction of the expression of genes encoding lignocellulolytic enzymes and the characterization of new cellulolytic enzymatic activities. In particular, the availability of a full genome deletion strain set for N. crassa has expedited high throughput screening for mutants that display a cellulolytic phenotype. This review summarizes the key findings of several recent studies using N. crassa to further understanding the mechanisms of plant cell wall deconstruction by filamentous fungi.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Various plant-derived substrates contain L-rhamnose that can be assimilated by many fungi and its liberation is catalyzed by ?-L-rhamnosidases. Initial data obtained in our laboratory focussing on two Aspergillus nidulans ?-L-rhamnosidase genes (rhaA and rhaE) showed ?-L-rhamnosidase production to be tightly controlled at the level of transcription by the carbon source available. Whilst induction is effected by L-rhamnose, unlike many other glycosyl hydrolase genes repression by glucose and other carbon sources occurs in a manner independent of CreA. To date regulatory genes affecting L-rhamnose utilization and the production of enzymes that yield L-rhamnose as a product have not been identified in A. nidulans. The purpose of the present study is to characterize the corresponding ?-L-rhamnosidase transactivator. RESULTS: In this study we have identified the rhaR gene in A. nidulans and Neurospora crassa (AN5673, NCU9033) encoding a putative Zn(II)2Cys6 DNA-binding protein. Genetic evidence indicates that its product acts in a positive manner to induce transcription of the A. nidulans L-rhamnose regulon. rhaR-deleted mutants showed reduced ability to induce expression of the ?-L-rhamnosidase genes rhaA and rhaE and concomitant reduction in ?-L-rhamnosidase production. The rhaR deletion phenotype also results in a significant reduction in growth on L-rhamnose that correlates with reduced expression of the L-rhamnonate dehydratase catabolic gene lraC (AN5672). Gel mobility shift assays revealed RhaR to be a DNA binding protein recognizing a partially symmetrical CGG-X11-CCG sequence within the rhaA promoter. Expression of rhaR alone is insufficient for induction since its mRNA accumulates even in the absence of L-rhamnose, therefore the presence of both functional RhaR and L-rhamnose are absolutely required. In N. crassa, deletion of rhaR also impairs growth on L-rhamnose. CONCLUSIONS: To define key elements of the L-rhamnose regulatory circuit, we characterized a DNA-binding Zn(II)2Cys6 transcription factor (RhaR) that regulates L-rhamnose induction of ?-L-rhamnosidases and the pathway for its catabolism in A. nidulans, thus extending the list of fungal regulators of genes encoding plant cell wall polysaccharide degrading enzymes. These findings can be expected to provide valuable information for modulating ?-L-rhamnosidase production and L-rhamnose utilization in fungi and could eventually have implications in fungal pathogenesis and pectin biotechnology.
Project description:Coprophilous fungi inhabit herbivore feces, secreting enzymes to degrade the most recalcitrant parts of plant biomass that have resisted the digestive process. Consequently, the secretomes of coprophilous fungi have high potential to contain novel and efficient plant cell wall degrading enzymes of biotechnological interest. We have used one-dimensional and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS/MS), and quadrupole time-of-flight liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (Q-TOF LC-MS/MS) to identify proteins from the secretome of the coprophilous fungus Doratomyces stemonitis C8 (EU551185) isolated from koala feces. As the genome of D. stemonitis has not been sequenced, cross-species identification, de novo sequencing, and zymography formed an integral part of the analysis. A broad range of enzymes involved in the degradation of cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, lignin, and protein were revealed, dominated by cellobiohydrolase of the glycosyl hydrolase family 7 and endo-1,4-?-xylanase of the glycosyl hydrolase family 10. A high degree of specialization for pectin degradation in the D. stemonitis C8 secretome distinguishes it from the secretomes of some other saprophytic fungi, such as the industrially exploited T. reesei. In the first proteomic analysis of the secretome of a coprophilous fungus reported to date, the identified enzymes provide valuable insight into how coprophilous fungi subsist on herbivore feces, and these findings hold potential for increasing the efficiency of plant biomass degradation in industrial processes such as biofuel production in the future.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Pectin is one of the major and most complex plant cell wall components that needs to be overcome by microorganisms as part of their strategies for plant invasion or nutrition. Microbial pectinolytic enzymes therefore play a significant role for plant-associated microorganisms and for the decomposition and recycling of plant organic matter. Recently, comparative studies revealed significant gene copy number expansion of the polysaccharide lyase 1 (PL1) pectin/pectate lyase gene family in the Clonostachys rosea genome, while only low numbers were found in Trichoderma species. Both of these fungal genera are widely known for their ability to parasitize and kill other fungi (mycoparasitism) and certain species are thus used for biocontrol of plant pathogenic fungi. RESULTS:In order to understand the role of the high number of pectin degrading enzymes in Clonostachys, we studied diversity and evolution of the PL1 gene family in C. rosea compared with other Sordariomycetes with varying nutritional life styles. Out of 17 members of C. rosea PL1, we could only detect two to be secreted at acidic pH. One of them, the pectate lyase pel12 gene was found to be strongly induced by pectin and, to a lower degree, by polygalacturonic acid. Heterologous expression of the PEL12 in a PL1-free background of T. reesei revealed direct enzymatic involvement of this protein in utilization of pectin at pH 5 without a requirement for Ca2+. The mutants showed increased utilization of pectin compounds, but did not increase biocontrol ability in detached leaf assay against the plant pathogen Botrytis cinerea compared to the wild type. CONCLUSIONS:In this study, we aimed to gain insight into diversity and evolution of the PL1 gene family in C. rosea and other Sordariomycete species in relation to their nutritional modes. We show that C. rosea PL1 expansion does not correlate with its mycoparasitic nutritional mode and resembles those of strong plant pathogenic fungi. We further investigated regulation, specificity and function of the C. rosea PEL12 and show that this enzyme is directly involved in degradation of pectin and pectin-related compounds, but not in C. rosea biocontrol.
Project description:Cellulosomes and noncellulosomal (hemi)cellulolytic enzymes are produced by Clostridium cellulovorans to degrade plant cell walls. To understand their synergistic relationship, changes in mRNA and protein expression in cellulosomes and noncellulosomal (hemi)cellulolytic enzymes (hereafter called noncellulosomal enzymes) of cultures grown on cellobiose, cellulose, pectin, xylan, and corn fiber or mixtures thereof were examined. Cellulase expression, favored particularly by the presence of Avicel, was found with all substrates. Comparison of cellulosome and noncellulosomal enzymes showed that expression profiles were strongly affected by the carbon source. High xylanase or pectate lyase expression was observed when C. cellulovorans was grown on xylan or pectin, respectively. Mixed carbon substrates (cellulose-pectin-xylan mixture or corn fiber) induced a wider variety of enzymes than a single carbon source, such as cellobiose, pectin, or xylan. Cellulosomal proteome profiles were more affected by the carbon source than the noncellulosomal enzymes. Transcription and protein analyses revealed that cellulosomes and noncellulosomal enzymes were expressed simultaneously on mixed carbon sources, but their degree of inducibility varied when the substrate was either cellulose or cellobiose. Cellulosomes and noncellulosomal enzymes had synergistic activity on various carbon substrates. These results indicated that expression of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes is highly influenced by the available carbon source and that synergy between cellulosomes and noncellulosomal enzymes contribute to plant cell wall degradation.