RNAseq reveals hydrophobins that are involved in the adaptation of Aspergillus nidulans to lignocellulose

Neil Andrew Brown, Laure N.A. Ries, Thaila F. Reis, Ranjith Rajendran, Renato Augusto Corrêa Dos Santos, Gordon Ramage, Diego Mauricio Riaño-Pachón, Gustavo H. Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Sugarcane is one of the world's most profitable crops. Waste steam-exploded sugarcane bagasse (SEB) is a cheap, abundant, and renewable lignocellulosic feedstock for the next-generation biofuels. In nature, fungi seldom exist as planktonic cells, similar to those found in the nutrient-rich environment created within an industrial fermenter. Instead, fungi predominantly form biofilms that allow them to thrive in hostile environments. Results: In turn, we adopted an RNA-sequencing approach to interrogate how the model fungus, Aspergillus nidulans, adapts to SEB, revealing the induction of carbon starvation responses and the lignocellulolytic machinery, in addition to morphological adaptations. Genetic analyses showed the importance of hydrophobins for growth on SEB. The major hydrophobin, RodA, was retained within the fungal biofilm on SEB fibres. The StuA transcription factor that regulates fungal morphology was up-regulated during growth on SEB and controlled hydrophobin gene induction. The absence of the RodA or DewC hydrophobins reduced biofilm formation. The loss of a RodA or a functional StuA reduced the retention of the hydrolytic enzymes within the vicinity of the fungus. Hence, hydrophobins promote biofilm formation on SEB, and may enhance lignocellulose utilisation via promoting a compact substrate-enzyme-fungus structure. Conclusion: This novel study highlights the importance of hydrophobins to the formation of biofilms and the efficient deconstruction of lignocellulose.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2016


  • Biofilm
  • Fungi
  • Hydrolytic enzymes
  • Hydrophobin
  • Sugarcane bagasse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy(all)
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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