Mixtures of aromatic compounds induce ligninolytic gene expression in the wood-rotting fungus Dichomitus squalens

J Biotechnol. 2020 Jan 20;308:35-39. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiotec.2019.11.014. Epub 2019 Nov 25.


Heterologous production of fungal ligninolytic cocktails is challenging due to the low yields of catalytically active lignin modifying peroxidases. Production using a natural system, such as a wood-rotting fungus, is a promising alternative if specific or preferential induction of the ligninolytic activities could be achieved. Using transcriptomics, gene expression of the white-rot Dichomitus squalens during growth on mixtures of aromatic compounds, with ring structures representing the two major lignin sub-units, was compared to a wood substrate. Most of the genes encoding lignin modifying enzymes (laccases and peroxidases) categorised as highly or moderately expressed on wood were expressed similarly on aromatic compounds. Higher expression levels of a subset of manganese and versatile peroxidases was observed on di- compared to mono-methoxylated aromatics. The expression of polysaccharide degrading enzymes was lower on aromatic compounds compared to wood, demonstrating that the induction of lignin modifying enzymes became more specific. This study suggests potential for aromatic waste streams, e.g. from lignocellulose pretreatment, to produce a lignin-specific enzyme cocktail from D. squalens or other white-rot fungi.

Keywords: Aromatics; Basidiomycete; Gene expression; Lignin; White-rot.

MeSH terms

  • Fungal Proteins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal / drug effects
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / chemistry
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic / pharmacology*
  • Laccase / genetics
  • Lignin / metabolism
  • Peroxidases / genetics
  • Polyporaceae / growth & development*
  • Polyporaceae / metabolism
  • Wood / chemistry
  • Wood / microbiology


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Hydrocarbons, Aromatic
  • Lignin
  • Laccase
  • Peroxidases