Cellulosome Localization Patterns Vary across Life Stages of Anaerobic Fungi


Anaerobic fungi (Neocallimastigomycota) isolated from the guts of herbivores are powerful biomass-degrading organisms that enhance their degradative ability through the formation of cellulosomes, multienzyme complexes that synergistically colocalize enzymes to extract sugars from recalcitrant plant matter. However, a functional understanding of how fungal cellulosomes are deployed in vivo to orchestrate plant matter degradation is lacking, as is knowledge of how cellulosome production and function vary throughout the morphologically diverse life cycle of anaerobic fungi. In this work, we generated antibodies against three major fungal cellulosome protein domains, a dockerin, scaffoldin, and glycoside hydrolase (GH) 48 protein, and used them in conjunction with helium ion and immunofluorescence microscopy to characterize cellulosome localization patterns throughout the life cycle of Piromyces finnis when grown on simple sugars and complex cellulosic carbon sources. Our analyses reveal that fungal cellulosomes are cell-localized entities specifically targeted to the rhizoids of mature fungal cells and bodies of zoospores. Examination of cellulosome localization patterns across life stages also revealed that cellulosome production is independent of growth substrate in zoospores but repressed by simple sugars in mature cells. This suggests that further exploration of gene regulation patterns in zoospores is needed and can inform potential strategies for derepressing cellulosome expression and boosting hydrolytic enzyme yields from fungal cultures. Collectively, these findings underscore how life cycle-dependent cell morphology and regulation of cellulosome production impact biomass degradation by anaerobic fungi, insights that will benefit ongoing efforts to develop these organisms and their cellulosomes into platforms for converting waste biomass into valuable bioproducts.

ICB Affiliated Authors

Lillington SP, Chrisler W, Haitjema CH, Gilmore SP, Smallwood CR, Shutthanandan V, Evans JE, O’Malley MA.
Peer-Reviewed Article