Studies on sugar transporter CRT1 reveal new characteristics that are critical for cellulase induction in Trichoderma reesei

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Background: Trichoderma reesei is an ascomycete fungus that has a tremendous capability of secreting extracellular proteins, mostly lignocellulose-degrading enzymes. Although many aspects of the biology of this organism have been unfolded, the roles of the many sugar transporters coded in its genome are still a mystery with a few exceptions. One of the most interesting sugar transporters that has thus far been discovered is the cellulose response transporter 1 (CRT1), which has been suggested to be either a sugar transporter or a sensor due to its seemingly important role in cellulase induction. Results: Here we show that CRT1 is a high-affinity cellobiose transporter, whose function can be complemented by the expression of other known cellobiose transporters. Expression of two sequence variants of the crt1 gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae revealed that only the variant listed in the RUT-C30 genome annotation has the capability to transport cellobiose and lactose. When expressed in the \Delta Δ crt1 strain, the variant listed in the QM6a genome annotation offers partial complementation of the cellulase induction, while the expression of the RUT-C30 variant or cellobiose transporters from two other fungal species fully restore the cellulase induction. Conclusions: These results add to our knowledge about the fungal metabolism of cellulose-derived oligosaccharides, which have the capability of inducing the cellulase production in many species. They also help us to deepen our understanding of the T. reesei lactose metabolism, which can have important consequences as this sugar is used as the inducer of protein secretion in many industrial processes which employ this species.
Original languageEnglish
Article number158
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Cellobiose transporter
  • Cellulase induction
  • Transmembrane transport
  • Trichoderma reesei


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