Loss of AA13 LPMOs impairs degradation of resistant starch and reduces the growth of Aspergillus nidulans

Majid Haddad Momeni, Maria Louise Leth, Claus Sternberg, Erwin Schoof, Maike Wennekers Nielsen, Jesper Holck, Christopher T. Workman, Jakob Blæsbjerg Hoof, Maher Abou Hachem*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases (LPMOs) are often studied in simple models involving activity measurements of a single LPMO or a blend thereof with hydrolytic enzymes towards an insoluble substrate. However, the contribution of LPMOs to polysaccharide breakdown in complex cocktails of hydrolytic and oxidative enzymes, similar to fungal secretomes, remains elusive. Typically, two starch-specific AA13 LPMOs are encoded by mainly Ascomycota genomes. Here, we investigate the impact of LPMO loss on the growth and degradation of starches of varying resistance to amylolytic hydrolases by Aspergillus nidulans. Deletion of the genes encoding AnAA13A that possesses a CBM20 starch-binding module, AnAA13B (lacking a CBM20) or both AA13 genes resulted in reduced growth on solid media with resistant, but not soluble processed potato starch. Larger size and amount of residual starch granules were observed for the AA13-deficient strains as compared to the reference and the impairment of starch degradation was more severe for the strain lacking AnAA13A based on a microscopic analysis. After 5 days of growth on raw potato starch in liquid media, the mount of residual starch was about fivefold higher for the AA13 gene deletion strains compared to the reference, which underscores the importance of LPMOs for degradation of especially resistant starches. Proteomic analyses revealed substantial changes in the secretomes of the double AA13 gene deletion, followed by the AnAA13A-deficient strain, whereas only a single protein was significantly different in the proteome of the AnAA13B-deficient strain as compared to the reference. This study shows that the loss of AA13, especially the starch-binding AnAA13A, impairs degradation of resistant potato starch, but has limited impact on less-resistant wheat starch and no impact on processed solubilized starch. The effects of LPMO loss are more pronounced at the later stages of fungal growth, likely due to the accumulation of the less-accessible regions of the substrate. The striking impairment in granular starch degradation due to the loss of a single LPMO from the secretome offers insight into the crucial role played by AA13 in the breakdown of resistant starch and presents a methodological framework to analyse the contribution of distinct LPMOs towards semi-crystalline polysaccharides under in vivo conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number135
JournalBiotechnology for Biofuels
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Ascomycota
  • Aspergilius nidulans
  • Biomass
  • Biorefinery
  • Carbohydrate oxidation
  • Functional genomics
  • Recalcitrant polysaccharides


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