Enzymes of early-diverging, zoosporic fungi

Lene Lange, Kristian Barrett, Bo Pilgaard, Frank Gleason, Adrian Tsang

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The secretome, the complement of extracellular proteins, is a reflection of the interaction of an organism with its host or substrate, thus a determining factor for the organism’s fitness and competitiveness. Hence, the secretome impacts speciation and organismal evolution. The zoosporic Chytridiomycota, Blastocladiomycota, Neocallimastigomycota, and Cryptomycota represent the earliest diverging lineages of the Fungal Kingdom. The review describes the enzyme compositions of these zoosporic fungi, underscoring the enzymes involved in biomass degradation. The review connects the lifestyle and substrate affinities of the zoosporic fungi to the secretome composition by examining both classical phenotypic investigations and molecular/genomic-based studies. The carbohydrate-active enzyme profiles of 19 genome-sequenced species are summarized. Emphasis is given to recent advances in understanding the functional role of rumen fungi, the basis for the devastating chytridiomycosis, and the structure of fungal cellulosome. The approach taken by the review enables comparison of the secretome enzyme composition of anaerobic versus aerobic early-diverging fungi and comparison of enzyme portfolio of specialized parasites, pathogens, and saprotrophs. Early-diverging fungi digest most major types of biopolymers: cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, chitin, and keratin. It is thus to be expected that early-diverging fungi in its entirety represents a rich and diverse pool of secreted, metabolic enzymes. The review presents the methods used for enzyme discovery, the diversity of enzymes found, the status and outlook for recombinant production, and the potential for applications. Comparative studies on the composition of secretome enzymes of early-diverging fungi would contribute to unraveling the basal lineages of fungi.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number17
Pages (from-to)6885–6902
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Early-diverging fungi
  • Zoosporic aerobic and anaerobic fungi
  • Functional genomics
  • Secretome enzyme composition
  • Secretome evolution
  • Biomass-degrading enzymes
  • Biotech potential


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