Background: The degradation of cellulose and hemicellulose molecules into simpler sugars such as glucose is part of the second generation biofuel production process. Hydrolysis of lignocellulosic substrates is usually performed by enzymes produced and secreted by the fungus Trichoderma reesei . Studies identifying transcription factors involved in the regulation of cellulase production have been conducted but no overview of the whole regulation network is available. A transcriptomic approach with mixtures of glucose and lactose, used as a substrate for cellulase induction, was used to help us decipher missing parts in the network.
Results: Experimental results confirmed the impact of sugar mixture on the enzymatic cocktail composition. The transcriptomic study shows a temporal regulation of the main transcription factors and a lactose concentration impact on the transcriptional profile. A gene regulatory network built using the BRANE Cut software reveals three sub-networks related to i) a positive correlation between lactose concentration and cellulase production, ii) a particular dependence of the lactose onto the β-glucosidase regulation and iii) a negative regulation of the development process and growth.
Conclusions: This work is the first investigating a transcriptomic study regarding the effects of pure and mixed carbon sources in a fed-batch mode. Our study expose a co-orchestration of xyr1 , clr2 and ace3 for cellulase and hemicellulase induction and production, a fine regulation of the β-glucosidase and a decrease of growth in favor of cellulase production. These conclusions provide us with potential targets for further genetic engineering leading to better cellulase-producing strains.