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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e25654. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0025654. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Identification of the CRE-1 cellulolytic regulon in Neurospora crassa.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.



In filamentous ascomycete fungi, the utilization of alternate carbon sources is influenced by the zinc finger transcription factor CreA/CRE-1, which encodes a carbon catabolite repressor protein homologous to Mig1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In Neurospora crassa, deletion of cre-1 results in increased secretion of amylase and β-galactosidase.


Here we show that a strain carrying a deletion of cre-1 has increased cellulolytic activity and increased expression of cellulolytic genes during growth on crystalline cellulose (Avicel). Constitutive expression of cre-1 complements the phenotype of a N. crassa Δcre-1 strain grown on Avicel, and also results in stronger repression of cellulolytic protein secretion and enzyme activity. We determined the CRE-1 regulon by investigating the secretome and transcriptome of a Δcre-1 strain as compared to wild type when grown on Avicel versus minimal medium. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-PCR of putative target genes showed that CRE-1 binds to only some adjacent 5'-SYGGRG-3' motifs, consistent with previous findings in other fungi, and suggests that unidentified additional regulatory factors affect CRE-1 binding to promoter regions. Characterization of 30 mutants containing deletions in genes whose expression level increased in a Δcre-1 strain under cellulolytic conditions identified novel genes that affect cellulase activity and protein secretion.


Our data provide comprehensive information on the CRE-1 regulon in N. crassa and contribute to deciphering the global role of carbon catabolite repression in filamentous ascomycete fungi during plant cell wall deconstruction.

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