EBI Personnel Directory Starr, Trevor
Filamentous fungi degrade most plant material, especially lignin and cellulose. Our ultimate goal is to understand the genomic and secretory pathway remodeling that occurs when N. crassa deconstructs plant cell walls/cellulose in order to use rational design to create these industrial strains that secrete high amounts of those enzymes, cellulases and hemicellulases.
Filamentous fungi secrete cellulases that act to degrade complex plant cell walls into simple sugars that the fungal cell can use for growth. In order to be secreted the cellulases must pass through an ordered array of intracellular organelles, which are collectively referred to as the secretory pathway. We are using Neurospora crassa, as a model filamentous fungus, to study components that are required for transport of cellulases through the endoplasmic reticulum, the first organelle of the secretory pathway. Our hope is to find targets for genetic manipulation that might lead to the design and engineering of filamentous fungal strains with enhanced secretion capability.