Cellulase gene expression in the model cellulolytic fungus Trichoderma reesei is supposed to be controlled by an intricate regulatory network involving multiple transcription factors. Here, we identified a novel transcriptional repressor of cellulase gene expression, Rce1. Disruption of the rce1 gene not only facilitated the induced expression of cellulase genes but also led to a significant delay in terminating the induction process. However, Rce1 did not participate in Cre1-mediated catabolite repression. Electrophoretic mobility shift (EMSA) and DNase I footprinting assays in combination with chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) demonstrated that Rce1 could bind directly to a cbh1 (cellobiohydrolase 1-encoding) gene promoter region containing a cluster of Xyr1 binding sites. Furthermore, competitive binding assays revealed that Rce1 antagonized Xyr1 from binding to the cbh1 promoter. These results indicate that intricate interactions exist between a variety of transcription factors to ensure tight and energy-efficient regulation of cellulase gene expression in T. reesei. This study also provides important clues regarding increased cellulase production in T. reesei.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.