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Analysis of regulation of pentose utilisation in Aspergillus niger reveals evolutionary adaptations in Eurotiales

Author(s): E. Battaglia | L. Visser | A. Nijssen | G.J. van Veluw | H.A.B. Wosten | R.P. de Vries

Journal: Studies in Mycology
ISSN 0166-0616

Volume: 69;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 31;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Aspergillus niger | Eurotiales

Aspergilli are commonly found in soil and on decaying plant material. D-xylose and L-arabinose are highly abundant components of plant biomass. They are released from polysaccharides by fungi using a set of extracellular enzymes and subsequently converted intracellularly through the pentose catabolic pathway (PCP).In this study, the L-arabinose responsive transcriptional activator (AraR) is identified in Aspergillus niger and was shown to control the L-arabinose catabolic pathway as well as expression of genes encoding extracellular L-arabinose releasing enzymes. AraR interacts with the D-xylose-responsive transcriptional activator XlnR in the regulation of the pentose catabolic pathway, but not with respect to release of L-arabinose and D-xylose.AraR was only identified in the Eurotiales, more specifically in the family Trichocomaceae and appears to have originated from a gene duplication event (from XlnR) after this order or family split from the other filamentous ascomycetes. XlnR is present in all filamentous ascomycetes with the exception of members of the Onygenales. Since the Onygenales and Eurotiales are both part of the subclass Eurotiomycetidae, this indicates that strong adaptation of the regulation of pentose utilisation has occurred at this evolutionary node. In Eurotiales a unique two-component regulatory system for pentose release and metabolism has evolved, while the regulatory system was lost in the Onygenales. The observed evolutionary changes (in Eurotiomycetidae) mainly affect the regulatory system as in contrast, homologues for most genes of the L-arabinose/D-xylose catabolic pathway are present in all the filamentous fungi, irrespective of the presence of XlnR and/or AraR.
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