The production of biofuels from plant biomass has gained interest in recent years as an environmental friendly alternative to petroleum-based energy sources. Filamentous fungi, which naturally thrive on decaying plant matter, are of particular interest for this process due to their ability to secrete enzymes required for the deconstruction of lignocellulosic material. A major drawback in fungal hydrolytic enzyme production is the natural repression of the corresponding genes in the presence of easily metabolizable carbon sources such as glucose, a process known as carbon catabolite repression (CCR) which is to a large extend mediated by the transcriptional regulator protein CreA. This is a disadvantage for second-generation (2G) biofuel production that aims to convert non-glucose saccharides from lignocellulosic plant biomass (e.g. xylose, arabinose, and cello- and xylooligosaccharides) to biofuels.
Within the scientific aims of this project, this study will unravel novel mechanistic details underlying CreA-mediated CCR and provide a solid basis for studying additional factors involved in carbon source utilization, which could prove useful for many biotechnological applications utilizing fungi.