Early-branching gut fungi possess a large, comprehensive array of biomass-degrading enzymes

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Science  18 Feb 2016:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1431

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The fungal kingdom is the source of almost all industrial enzymes in use for lignocellulose bioprocessing. We developed a systems-level approach that integrates transcriptomic sequencing (RNA-Seq), proteomics, phenotype and biochemical studies of relatively unexplored basal fungi. Anaerobic gut fungi isolated from herbivores produce a large array of biomass-degrading enzymes that synergistically degrade crude, untreated plant biomass, and are competitive with optimized commercial preparations from Aspergillus and Trichoderma. Compared to these model platforms, gut fungal enzymes are unbiased in substrate preference due to a wealth of xylan-degrading enzymes. These enzymes are universally catabolite repressed, and are further regulated by a rich landscape of noncoding regulatory RNAs. Additionally, we identified several promising sequence-divergent enzyme candidates for lignocellulosic bioprocessing.

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