Myceliophthora thermophila Xyr1 is predominantly involved in xylan degradation and xylose catabolism

Ana Carolina Dos Santos Gomes, Daniel Falkoski, Evy Battaglia, Mao Peng, Maira Nicolau de Almeida, Nancy Coconi Linares, Jean-Paul Meijnen, Jaap Visser, Ronald P de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Background: Myceliophthora thermophila is a thermophilic ascomycete fungus that is used as a producer of enzyme cocktails used in plant biomass saccharification. Further development of this species as an industrial enzyme factory requires a detailed understanding of its regulatory systems driving the production of plant biomass-degrading enzymes. In this study, we analyzed the function of MtXlr1, an ortholog of the (hemi-)cellulolytic regulator XlnR first identified in another industrially relevant fungus, Aspergillus niger.

Results: The Mtxlr1 gene was deleted and the resulting strain was compared to the wild type using growth profiling and transcriptomics. The deletion strain was unable to grow on xylan and d-xylose, but showed only a small growth reduction on l-arabinose, and grew similar to the wild type on Avicel and cellulose. These results were supported by the transcriptome analyses which revealed reduction of genes encoding xylan-degrading enzymes, enzymes of the pentose catabolic pathway and putative pentose transporters. In contrast, no or minimal effects were observed for the expression of cellulolytic genes.

Conclusions: Myceliophthora thermophila MtXlr1 controls the expression of xylanolytic genes and genes involved in pentose transport and catabolism, but has no significant effects on the production of cellulases. It therefore resembles more the role of its ortholog in Neurospora crassa, rather than the broader role described for this regulator in A. niger and Trichoderma reesei. By revealing the range of genes controlled by MtXlr1, our results provide the basic knowledge for targeted strain improvement by overproducing or constitutively activating this regulator, to further improve the biotechnological value of M. thermophila.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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