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PLoS Genet. 2017 May 3;13(5):e1006737. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1006737. eCollection 2017 May.

A fungal transcription factor essential for starch degradation affects integration of carbon and nitrogen metabolism.

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The Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, The University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.
The Energy Biosciences Institute, The University of California, Berkeley, California, United States of America.
Environmental Genomics and System Biology/Biosciences Area Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, United States of America.
U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, Walnut Creek, California, United States of America.
Joint BioEnergy Institute, Emeryville, California, United States of America.


In Neurospora crassa, the transcription factor COL-26 functions as a regulator of glucose signaling and metabolism. Its loss leads to resistance to carbon catabolite repression. Here, we report that COL-26 is necessary for the expression of amylolytic genes in N. crassa and is required for the utilization of maltose and starch. Additionally, the Δcol-26 mutant shows growth defects on preferred carbon sources, such as glucose, an effect that was alleviated if glutamine replaced ammonium as the primary nitrogen source. This rescue did not occur when maltose was used as a sole carbon source. Transcriptome and metabolic analyses of the Δcol-26 mutant relative to its wild type parental strain revealed that amino acid and nitrogen metabolism, the TCA cycle and GABA shunt were adversely affected. Phylogenetic analysis showed a single col-26 homolog in Sordariales, Ophilostomatales, and the Magnaporthales, but an expanded number of col-26 homologs in other filamentous fungal species. Deletion of the closest homolog of col-26 in Trichoderma reesei, bglR, resulted in a mutant with similar preferred carbon source growth deficiency, and which was alleviated if glutamine was the sole nitrogen source, suggesting conservation of COL-26 and BglR function. Our finding provides novel insight into the role of COL-26 for utilization of starch and in integrating carbon and nitrogen metabolism for balanced metabolic activities for optimal carbon and nitrogen distribution.

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