Project summary

The project was funded by the National Science Centre (Poland) based on the decision number DEC-2014/15/B/NZ9/01990.


Research project objectives/hypothesis

The aim of the project is to assess the influence of light on wood metabolism of Cerrena unicolor focusing on the ability to produce wood degrading enzymes and low molecular mediators.

Light is a very important signal for every living cell, and since optimal adaptation to both the beneficial and harmful effects of light significantly enhances fitness of an organism, it can be considered as crucial for a successful competition and survival in nature. Numerous papers prove that in molds exist a complicated gene expression system regulated by light. Till now several photoreceptors, gene expression and metabolic responses to lighting conditions were described. With small genome sizes relative to plants and animals, advances in genome sequencing provide gene content information on numerous and phylogenetically diverse fungal species. In addition, for many fungal species efficient genetic transformation protocols are available, enabling the determination of gene functions especially by the development of the mutant strains and observation of the mutant phenotypes.

However, it is little known about light influence on growth and metabolism of so called higher fungi. Even if lightning conditions, required for successful fruiting of Lentinulla edodes and Ganoderma lucidum, are well known, the changes in their metabolism under this physical factor remains still a mystery. It seems impossible that in molds exist a complicated system of light response , whereas the higher fungi remains somehow blind to this crucial factor limiting life on Earth. Considering above observations, it seems worth investigating the effect of the light on the metabolism of wood degrading fungi. Therefore, the project research plan focuses on the analysis of Cerrena unicolor, which is described in available literature as biotechnologically important producer of several enzymes (laccase, peroxidase, xylanase) and bioactive compounds. The proposed analysis will be performed in different lightning conditions (darkness and different light wavelengths) which may influences the production of enzymes and secondary metabolites in C. unicolor. The expected results should allow to conclude whether the same enzymes are equally induced by the same lights conditions in mentioned organism. As a consequence, it will allow for the assessment of the light influence on wood metabolism in white rot fungi. The obtained results should allow to conclude about the adaptations of fungi to the environmental changes.

Research methodology:

  •  five variants of lightning conditions (white light, red, blue, green and darkness) will be analysed as influencing factors in solid state cultures (ash sawdust) of Cerrena unicolor,
  •  quantitative and qualitative analysis of transcripts will be performed,
  • enzymatic activities of the extracellular cellulases, hemicellulases, lignolytic enzymes and proteases during cultivation will be investigated,
  • the concentration of a low molecular compounds enhancing wood degradation will be monitored, moreover the ion transport through cell membrane will be monitored
  • ability of C. unicolor to decompose 95 carbon sources and its chemical sensitivity to 120 xenobiotics will be investigated in relation to lighting conditions

Research project impact

The expected results will allow to assess physiological function of light during fungal wood decomposition as a microorganism adaptation to environmental and nutritional changes. The implementation of all above analysis will enable global understanding whether all wood degrading enzymes are equally synthesized without a regard to the lightning conditions. It should be possible to assign which enzymes or metabolic pathways are induced or inhibited by certain lighting conditions. Moreover, interactions between parasite and host organism will be addressed by analysis of degradability of common ash sawdust by Cerrena unicolor under the influence of lightning conditions. The project expected results will broaden our knowledge about the regulation of the enzymes expression in Cerrena unicolor, which in consequence may lead to the development of a new optimization techniques in these protein production. The research results obtained in the course of the project will be published in science journals and magazines of international scope. These results will be also disseminated in the form of reports, papers and posters during scientific conferences, symposiums and meetings in Poland and abroad. All these results will be available at the Department of Biochemistry MCSU website, in the form of original written works, elaborated and published also as a conference news bulletins. Such presentation and publicity methods will increase the results’ accessibility and will also increase the possibility of their practical use, both in economy sector and in the field of science.