Trichoderma reesei Histone Acetyltransferase Gcn5 Regulates Fungal Growth, Conidiation, and Cellulase Gene Expression
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Gcn5 is a well-established histone acetyltransferase involved in chromatin modification by catalyzing the acetylation of specific lysine residues within the N-terminal tails of the core histones. To assess the role of chromatin remodeling in the transcriptional response of cellulolytic Trichoderma reesei to the changes of environmental conditions, we identified the T. reesei ortholog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Gcn5 by sequence alignment and functional analysis. Heterologous expression of TrGcn5 in S. cerevisiaegcn5Δ strain restored the growth defect under nutrient limitation as well as stresses. In contrast, mutant TrGcn5 with site-directed changes of residues critical for Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase activity could not complement the growth defect. The T. reeseigcn5Δ mutant strain displayed a strongly decreased growth rate and dramatic morphological changes including misshapen hyphal cells and abolished conidiation. Moreover, the induced expression of cellulase genes was severely impaired in the gcn5Δ T. reesei with acetylation of K9 and K14 of histone H3 in the cellulase gene promoter dramatically affected in the absence of TrGcn5. The results indicate that TrGcn5 plays a critical role in filamentous growth, morphogenesis, and transcriptional activation of specific genes including cellulase encoding genes.