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A versatile system for fast screening and isolation of Trichoderma reesei cellulase hyperproducers based on DsRed and fluorescence-assisted cell sorting

Gao, Fei, Hao, Zhenzhen, Sun, Xianhua, Qin, Lina, Zhao, Tong, Liu, Weiquan, Luo, Huiying, Yao, Bin, Su, Xiaoyun
Biotechnology for biofuels 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 261
Trichoderma reesei, ambient temperature, bioenergy industry, cellulose, endo-1,4-beta-glucanase, fluorescence, fungi, gene overexpression, genetic engineering, glucose, labor, mutagenesis, mutants, screening, spores, transactivators, transcription (genetics)
BACKGROUND: In the biofuel industry, cellulase plays an indispensable role in hydrolyzing cellulose into fermentable glucose. Trichoderma reesei is a popular filamentous fungus with prominent ability to produce cellulase. While classical mutagenesis and modern multiplex genome engineering are both effective ways to improve cellulase production, successful obtaining of strains with improved cellulase-producing ability requires screening a large number of strains, which is time-consuming and labor intensive. RESULTS: Herein, we developed a versatile method coupling expression of the red fluorescence protein (DsRed) in T. reesei and fluorescence-assisted cell sorting (FACS) of germinated spores. This method was first established by expressing DsRed intracellularly under the control of the major cellulase cbh1 promoter in T. reesei, which allowed us to rapidly isolate cellulase hyperproducers from T. reesei progenies transformed with a dedicated transcriptional activator ace3 and from an atmospheric and room temperature plasma-created mutant T. reesei library. Since intracellularly expressed DsRed was expected to isolate mutations mainly affecting cellulase transcription, this method was further improved by displaying DsRed on the T. reesei cell surface, enabling isolation of strains with beneficial genetic alterations (overexpressing hac1 and bip1) affecting regulatory stages beyond transcription. Using this method, T. reesei cellulase hyperproducers were also successfully isolated from an Agrobacterium-mediated random insertional mutant library. CONCLUSIONS: The coupled DsRed-FACS high-throughput screening method proved to be an effective strategy for fast isolation of T. reesei cellulase hyperproducers and could also be applied in other industrially important filamentous fungi.