A comparative systems analysis of polysaccharide-elicited responses in Neurospora crassa reveals carbon source-specific cellular adaptations

Authors

  • J. Philipp Benz,

    Corresponding author
    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
    • For correspondence. E-mail ph.benz@berkeley.edu; Tel. (+1) (510) 666 2556; Fax (+1) (510) 643 3720.

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  • Bryant H. Chau,

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Rinat Laboratories, Pfizer Inc, South San Francisco, CA, USA
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  • Diana Zheng,

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
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  • Stefan Bauer,

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
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  • N. Louise Glass,

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
    2. Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
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  • Chris R. Somerville

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
    2. Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA
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Summary

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.

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