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Revisiting a 'simple' fungal metabolic pathway reveals redundancy, complexity and diversity.

Abstract

Next to d-glucose, the pentoses l-arabinose and d-xylose are the main monosaccharide components of plant cell wall polysaccharides and are therefore of major importance in biotechnological applications that use plant biomass as a substrate. Pentose catabolism is one of the best-studied pathways of primary metabolism of Aspergillus niger, and an initial outline of this pathway with individual enzymes covering each step of the pathway has been previously established. However, although growth on l-arabinose and/or d-xylose of most pentose catabolic pathway (PCP) single deletion mutants of A. niger has been shown to be negatively affected, it was not abolished, suggesting the involvement of additional enzymes. Detailed analysis of the single deletion mutants of the known A. niger PCP genes led to the identification of additional genes involved in the pathway. These results reveal a high level of complexity and redundancy in this pathway, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive understanding of metabolic pathways before entering metabolic engineering of such pathways for the generation of more efficient fungal cell factories.

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