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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Patterns of Gene Expression Provide Insight into Wood Decay Mechanisms

Basidiocarp of brown rot fungus Fomitopsis pinicola. University of Minnesota
Basidiocarp of brown rot fungus Fomitopsis pinicola. University of Minnesota
Snapshot: Comparative examination of gene regulation reveal significant differences among brown rot fungi when colonizing different wood species.

Brown rot wood decay fungi rapidly depolymerize the cellulose in woody biomass. They play a key role in forest carbon cycling and are often responsible for the destructive and costly decay of wood in service. In recent years, their unique capacity to deconstruct cellulose has garnered considerable interest in plant biomass conversion processes, and this has prompted large scale genome sequence projects, principally by the U.S. Department of Energy. Much has been learned about the structure and number of genes in these fungi, but in the absence of gene expression, relatively little is known of the precise mechanisms involved in cellulose utilization. Our collaborative investigations with the Department of Energy and several universities have examined the expression of all genes when six representative brown rot fungi have colonized aspen, pine or spruce. Gene regulation was found to vary among the fungal species and was further influenced by tree species. These genetic adaptations to hosts strongly support the importance of oxidative mechanisms.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Cullen, Daniel

Research Location:
  • Joint Genome Institute, Clark University, Forest Products Lab, University of Minnesota, University of Toronto

External Partners:
  • Baojun Wu, Clark University, MA
  • Chrisina Toapanta, University of Minnesota, MN
  • David Hibbett, Clark University, MA
  • Emma Master, University of Toronto, ON
  • Igor Grigoriev, Department of Energy, Walnut Creek, CA and University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • Jiwei Zhang, University of Minnesota, MN
  • Jonathan Schilling, University of Minneosta, MN
  • Robert Blanchette, University of Minnesota, MN
  • Seven Ahrendt, Department of Energy, Joint Genome Insistute, Walnut Creek, CA

Fiscal Year: 2019
Highlight ID: 1335
Related Research Emphasis Areas: