Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 180, Issue 2, pp 134–141 | Cite as

Xylose metabolism in the anaerobic fungus Piromyces sp. strain E2 follows the bacterial pathway

  • Harry R. Harhangi
  • Anna S. Akhmanova
  • Roul Emmens
  • Chris van der Drift
  • Wim T. A. M. de Laat
  • Johannes P. van Dijken
  • Mike S. M. JettenEmail author
  • Jack T. Pronk
  • Huub J. M. Op den Camp
Original Paper


The anaerobic fungus Piromyces sp. strain E2 metabolizes xylose via xylose isomerase and d-xylulokinase as was shown by enzymatic and molecular analyses. This resembles the situation in bacteria. The clones encoding the two enzymes were obtained from a cDNA library. The xylose isomerase gene sequence is the first gene of this type reported for a fungus. Northern blot analysis revealed a correlation between mRNA and enzyme activity levels on different growth substrates. Furthermore, the molecular mass calculated from the gene sequence was confirmed by gel permeation chromatography of crude extracts followed by activity measurements. Deduced amino acid sequences of both genes were used for phylogenetic analysis. The xylose isomerases can be divided into two distinct clusters. The Piromyces sp. strain E2 enzyme falls into the cluster comprising plant enzymes and enzymes from bacteria with a low G+C content in their DNA. The d-xylulokinase of Piromyces sp. strain E2 clusters with the bacterial d-xylulokinases. The xylose isomerase gene was expressed in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, resulting in a low activity (25±13 nmol min−1mg protein-1). These two fungal genes may be applicable to metabolic engineering of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the alcoholic fermentation of hemicellulosic materials.


Xylose isomerase d-Xylulokinase Phylogeny Chytrid fungus Piromyces 



We thank Nick van Bakel for excellent technical assistance with the biochemical work and Royal Nedalco B.V. for support. We are grateful to Peter Steenbakkers and Jan Keltjens for critically reading the manuscript and stimulating discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry R. Harhangi
    • 1
  • Anna S. Akhmanova
    • 1
    • 4
  • Roul Emmens
    • 1
  • Chris van der Drift
    • 1
  • Wim T. A. M. de Laat
    • 2
  • Johannes P. van Dijken
    • 3
  • Mike S. M. Jetten
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jack T. Pronk
    • 3
  • Huub J. M. Op den Camp
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Royal Nedalco B.V.AA Bergen op ZoomThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Kluyver Laboratory of BiotechnologyDelft University of TechnologyBC DelftThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Cell Biology and GeneticsErasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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