Comparative genomic analysis of the thermophilic biomass-degrading fungi Myceliophthora thermophila and Thielavia terrestris

Randy M. Berka, Igor V. Grigoriev, Robert Otillar, Asaf Salamov, Jane Grimwood, Ian Reid, Nadeeza Ishmael, Tricia John, Corinne Darmond, Marie Claude Moisan, Bernard Henrissat, Pedro M. Coutinho, Vincent Lombard, Donald O. Natvig, Erika Lindquist, Jeremy Schmutz, Susan Lucas, Paul Harris, Justin Powlowski, Annie BellemareDavid Taylor, Gregory Butler, Ronald P. De Vries, Iris E. Allijn, Joost Van Den Brink, Sophia Ushinsky, Reginald Storms, Amy J. Powell, Ian T. Paulsen, Liam D H Elbourne, Scott E. Baker, Jon Magnuson, Sylvie Laboissiere, A. John Clutterbuck, Diego Martinez, Mark Wogulis, Alfredo Lopez De Leon, Michael W. Rey, Adrian Tsang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

368 Citations (Scopus)


Thermostable enzymes and thermophilic cell factories may afford economic advantages in the production of many chemicals and biomass-based fuels. Here we describe and compare the genomes of two thermophilic fungi, Myceliophthora thermophila and Thielavia terrestris. To our knowledge, these genomes are the first described for thermophilic eukaryotes and the first complete telomere-to-telomere genomes for filamentous fungi. Genome analyses and experimental data suggest that both thermophiles are capable of hydrolyzing all major polysaccharides found in biomass. Examination of transcriptome data and secreted proteins suggests that the two fungi use shared approaches in the hydrolysis of cellulose and xylan but distinct mechanisms in pectin degradation. Characterization of the biomass-hydrolyzing activity of recombinant enzymes suggests that these organisms are highly efficient in biomass decomposition at both moderate and high temperatures. Furthermore, we present evidence suggesting that aside from representing a potential reservoir of thermostable enzymes, thermophilic fungi are amenable to manipulation using classical and molecular genetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-929
Number of pages8
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


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