Biotechnology for biofuels

A truncated form of the Carbon catabolite repressor 1 increases cellulase production in Trichoderma reesei.

PMID 25342970


Rut-C30 is a cellulase-hyperproducing Trichoderma reesei strain and, consequently, became the ancestor of most industry strains used in the production of plant cell wall-degrading enzymes, in particular cellulases. Due to three rounds of undirected mutagenesis its genetic background differs from the wild-type QM6a in many ways, of which two are the lack of a 83 kb large sequence in scaffold 15 and the partial lack of the gene encoding the Carbon catabolite repressor 1 (CREI). However, it is still unclear, what exactly enhances cellulase production in Rut-C30. The investigation of the expression of two genes encoding cellulases (cbh1 and cbh2) and the gene encoding their main transactivator (xyr1) revealed that the presence of the truncated form of CREI (CREI-96) contributes more to the Rut-C30 phenotype than a general loss of CREI-mediated carbon catabolite repression (cre1 deletion strain) or the deletion of 29 genes encoded in the scaffold 15 (83 kb deletion strain). We found that the remaining cre1 in Rut-C30 (cre1-96) is transcribed into mRNA, that its putative gene product (Cre1-96) is still able to bind DNA, and that the CREI-binding sites in the upstream regulatory regions of the chosen CREI-target genes are still protected in Rut-C30. As it was previously reported that CREI acts on the nucleosome positioning, we also analyzed chromatin accessibility of the core promoters of CREI-target genes and found them open even on D-glucose in the presence of CREI-96. The lack of the full version of CREI in Rut-C30 corresponds with a partial release from carbon catabolite repression but is not completely explained by the lack of CREI. In contrast, the truncated CREI-96 of Rut-C30 exerts a positive regulatory influence on the expression of target genes. Mechanistically this might be explained at least partially by a CREI-96-mediated opening of chromatin.