Applied and environmental microbiology

Interaction of ammonium, glucose, and chitin regulates the expression of cell wall-degrading enzymes in Trichoderma atroviride strain P1.

PMID 11722918


Chitinolytic and glucanolytic fungal cell wall-degrading enzymes have been suggested to be primary determinants of biocontrol by Trichoderma spp. We examined the effects of ammonium, glucose, chitin, and chito-oligomers on transcription of specific genes and secretion of fungal cell wall-degrading enzymes. The genes ech42, nag1, and gluc78 were examined, as were the enzymes they encode (endochitinase CHIT42, N-acetylhexosaminidase CHIT73, and glucan exo-1,3-beta-glucanase GLUC78, respectively). gluc78 could be induced by nitrogen starvation alone, while both ech42 and nag1 required nitrogen starvation and the presence of chitin for induction. Starvation for both ammonium and glucose resulted in very early expression and secretion of all cell wall-degrading enzymes examined. In the presence of low levels of ammonium (10 mM), both chito-oligomers and chitin triggered CHIT42 and CHIT40 (chitobiosidase) production. CHIT73 secretion occurred in the presence of N-acetylglucosamine and chito-oligomers, while chitin was less effective. The presence of different chito-oligomers resulted in secretion of specific N-acetylhexosaminidases, of which CHIT73 is one. Our results indicate that the expression and secretion of cell wall-degrading enzymes is nitrogen repressed, that effects of carbon and nitrogen nutrition are interactive, and that especially for chitinolytic enzymes, the inductive effect of chitin is altered by the level of ammonium or glucose in the medium.