The transcriptional activator ClrB is crucial for the degradation of soybean hulls and guar gum in Aspergillus niger

Roland S Kun, Sandra Garrigues, Mao Peng, Keykhosrow Keymanesh, Anna Lipzen, Vivian Ng, Sravanthi Tejomurthula, Igor V Grigoriev, Ronald P de Vries

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Low-cost plant substrates, such as soybean hulls, are used for various industrial applications. Filamentous fungi are important producers of Carbohydrate Active enZymes (CAZymes) required for the degradation of these plant biomass substrates. CAZyme production is tightly regulated by several transcriptional activators and repressors. One such transcriptional activator is CLR-2/ClrB/ManR, which has been identified as a regulator of cellulase and mannanase production in several fungi. However, the regulatory network governing the expression of cellulase and mannanase encoding genes has been reported to differ between fungal species. Previous studies showed that Aspergillus niger ClrB is involved in the regulation of (hemi-)cellulose degradation, although its regulon has not yet been identified. To reveal its regulon, we cultivated an A. niger ΔclrB mutant and control strain on guar gum (a galactomannan-rich substrate) and soybean hulls (containing galactomannan, xylan, xyloglucan, pectin and cellulose) to identify the genes that are regulated by ClrB. Gene expression data and growth profiling showed that ClrB is indispensable for growth on cellulose and galactomannan and highly contributes to growth on xyloglucan in this fungus. Therefore, we show that A. niger ClrB is crucial for the utilization of guar gum and the agricultural substrate, soybean hulls. Moreover, we show that mannobiose is most likely the physiological inducer of ClrB in A. niger and not cellobiose, which is considered to be the inducer of N. crassa CLR-2 and A. nidulans ClrB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103781
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Aspergillus niger/genetics
  • Glycine max/metabolism
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Cellulose/metabolism
  • Cellulase/metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Fungal Proteins/genetics


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