Main content area

Repeat-induced point (RIP) mutation in the industrial workhorse fungus Trichoderma reesei

Li, Wan-Chen, Chen, Chia-Ling, Wang, Ting-Fang
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2018 v.102 no.4 pp. 1567-1574
DNA, DNA replication, Neurospora crassa, Trichoderma reesei, biomass, chromosomes, enzyme activity, evolution, fungi, genes, industrial applications, lignocellulases, lignocellulose, metabolic engineering, methyltransferases, models, mutation, proteins, sexual development, sexual reproduction
Trichoderma reesei (syn. Hypocrea jecorina) is a filamentous ascomycete. Due to its capability of producing large amounts of lignocellulolytic enzymes and various heterologous proteins, this fungus has been widely used for industrial applications for over 70 years. It is also a model organism for lignocellulosic biomass degradation and metabolic engineering. Recently, we experimentally and computationally demonstrated that Trichoderma reesei exhibits high homology pairing and repeat-induced point (RIP) mutation activities at a premeiotic stage, i.e., between fertilization and karyogamy or premeiotic DNA replication. The discovery of RIP in Trichoderma reesei not only reveals significant impacts of sexual reproduction on evolution and chromosome architecture but also provides intriguing perspectives for industrial strain improvement. This review emphasizes two major points about RIP and RIP-like processes in Pezizomycotina fungi. First, the molecular mechanisms of RIP and RIP-like processes in Trichoderma reesei and other Pezizomycotina fungi are apparently distinct from those originally described in the model fungus Neurospora crassa. Second, orthologs of the rid1 (deficient in RIP-1) DNA methyltransferase gene were shown to be essential for sexual development in at least four Pezizomycotina fungi, including Trichoderma reesei. In contrast, rid1 is dispensable for Neurospora crassa sexual development. We suggest that the rid1-like gene products and/or their DNA methyltransferase activities play critical roles in promoting fungal sexual development. The Neurospora crassa rid1 gene might have lost this evolutionarily conserved function.