OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the potential of adaptive evolution as a tool in generating strains with an improved production of plant biomass degrading enzymes.
RESULTS: An Aspergillus niger cellulase mutant was obtained by adaptive evolution. Physiological properties of this mutant revealed a five times higher cellulose production than the parental strain. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that the expression of noxR, encoding the regulatory subunit of the NADPH oxidase complex, was reduced in the mutant compared to the parental strain. Subsequent analysis of a noxR knockout strain showed the same phenotypic effect as observed for the evolution mutant, confirming the role of NoxR in cellulose degradation.
CONCLUSIONS: Adaptive evolution is an efficient approach to modify a strain and activate genes involved in polysaccharide degradation.