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Fungal Genet Biol. 2017 Apr;101:46-54. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2017.03.002. Epub 2017 Mar 8.

Genetic and biochemical characterization of the GH72 family of cell wall transglycosylases in Neurospora crassa.

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Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States.
Department of Biological Sciences, SUNY University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, United States. Electronic address:


The Neurospora crassa genome encodes five GH72 family transglycosylases, and four of these enzymes (GEL-1, GEL-2, GEL-3 and GEL-5) have been found to be present in the cell wall proteome. We carried out an extensive genetic analysis on the role of these four transglycosylases in cell wall biogenesis and demonstrated that the transglycosylases are required for the formation of a normal cell wall. As suggested by the proteomic analysis, we found that multiple transglycosylases were being expressed in N. crassa cells and that different combinations of the enzymes are required in different cell types. The combination of GEL-1, GEL-2 and GEL-5 is required for the growth of vegetative hyphae, while the GEL-1, GEL-2, GEL-3 combination is needed for the production of aerial hyphae and conidia. Our data demonstrates that the enzymes are redundant with partially overlapping enzymatic activities, which provides the fungus with a robust cell wall biosynthetic system. Characterization of the transglycosylase-deficient mutants demonstrated that the incorporation of cell wall proteins was severely compromised. Interestingly, we found that the transglycosylase-deficient mutant cell walls contained more β-1,3-glucan than the wild type cell wall. Our results demonstrate that the GH72 transglycosylases are not needed for the incorporation of β-1,3-glucan into the cell wall, but they are required for the incorporation of cell wall glycoprotein into the cell wall.


Cell wall protein; Fungal cell wall; Glucan; Glucanosyl hydrolase; Glucanosyl transferase; Neurospora crassa

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