Genome sequencing and transcriptome analysis of Trichoderma reesei QM9978 strain reveals a distal chromosome translocation to be responsible for loss of vib1 expression and loss of cellulase induction

Abstract : Abstract Background: The hydrolysis of biomass to simple sugars used for the production of biofuels in biorefneries requires the action of cellulolytic enzyme mixtures. During the last 50 years, the ascomycete Trichoderma reesei, the main source of industrial cellulase and hemicellulase cocktails, has been subjected to several rounds of classical mutagenesis with the aim to obtain higher production levels. During these random genetic events, strains unable to produce cellulases were generated. Here, whole genome sequencing and transcriptomic analyses of the cellulase-negative strain QM9978 were used for the identifcation of mutations underlying this cellulase-negative phenotype. Results: Sequence comparison of the cellulase-negative strain QM9978 to the reference strain QM6a identifed a total of 43 mutations, of which 33 were located either close to or in coding regions. From those, we identifed 23 single-nucleotide variants, nine InDels, and one translocation. The translocation occurred between chromosomes V and VII, is located upstream of the putative transcription factor vib1, and abolishes its expression in QM9978 as detected during the transcriptomic analyses. Ectopic expression of vib1 under the control of its native promoter as well as overexpression of vib1 under the control of a strong constitutive promoter restored cellulase expression in QM9978, thus confrming that the translocation event is the reason for the cellulase-negative phenotype. Gene deletion of vib1 in the moderate producer strain QM9414 and in the high producer strain Rut-C30 reduced cellulase expression in both cases. Overexpression of vib1 in QM9414 and Rut-C30 had no efect on cellulase production, most likely because vib1 is already expressed at an optimal level under normal conditions. Conclusion: We were able to establish a link between a chromosomal translocation in QM9978 and the cellulasenegative phenotype of the strain. We identifed the transcription factor vib1 as a key regulator of cellulases in T. reesei whose expression is absent in QM9978. We propose that in T. reesei, as in Neurospora crassa, vib1 is involved in cellulase induction, although the exact mechanism remains to be elucidated. The data presented here show an example of a combined genome sequencing and transcriptomic approach to explain a specifc trait, in this case the QM9978 cellulase-negative phenotype, and how it helps to better understand the mechanisms during cellulase gene regulation. When focusing on mutations on the single base-pair level, changes on the chromosome level can be easily
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Ivanova Christa, Ramoni Jonas, Thiziri Aouam, Frischmann Alexa, Bernhard Seiboth, et al.. Genome sequencing and transcriptome analysis of Trichoderma reesei QM9978 strain reveals a distal chromosome translocation to be responsible for loss of vib1 expression and loss of cellulase induction. Biotechnology for Biofuels, BioMed Central, 2017, 10, pp.209. 〈10.1186/s13068-017-0897-7〉. 〈hal-01592860〉

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