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Open Access Research article

The information highways of a biotechnological workhorse – signal transduction in Hypocrea jecorina

Monika Schmoll

Author Affiliations

Research Area of Gene Technology and Applied Biochemistry, Institute for Chemical Engineering, Vienna University of Technology, Getreidemarkt 9/1665, A-1060 Wien, Austria

BMC Genomics 2008, 9:430  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-9-430

Published: 20 September 2008



The ascomycete Hypocrea jecorina (anamorph Trichoderma reesei) is one of the most prolific producers of biomass-degrading enzymes and frequently termed an industrial workhorse. To compete for nutrients in its habitat despite its shortcoming in certain degradative enzymes, efficient perception and interpretation of environmental signals is indispensable. A better understanding of these signals as well as their transmission machinery can provide sources for improvement of biotechnological processes.


The genome of H. jecorina was analysed for the presence and composition of common signal transduction pathways including heterotrimeric G-protein cascades, cAMP signaling, mitogen activated protein kinases, two component phosphorelay systems, proteins involved in circadian rhythmicity and light response, calcium signaling and the superfamily of Ras small GTPases. The results of this survey are discussed in the context of current knowledge in order to assess putative functions as well as potential impact of alterations of the respective pathways.


Important findings include an additional, bacterial type phospholipase C protein and an additional 6-4 photolyase. Moreover the presence of 4 RGS-(Regulator of G-protein Signaling) proteins and 3 GprK-type G-protein coupled receptors comprising an RGS-domain suggest a more complex posttranslational regulation of G-protein signaling than in other ascomycetes. Also the finding, that H. jecorina, unlike yeast possesses class I phosducins which are involved in phototransduction in mammals warrants further investigation. An alteration in the regulation of circadian rhythmicity may be deduced from the extension of both the class I and II of casein kinases, homologues of which are implicated in phosphorylation of FRQ in Neurospora crassa. On the other hand, a shortage in the number of the pathogenicity related PTH11-type G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) as well as a lack of microbial opsins was detected. Considering its efficient enzyme system for breakdown of cellulosic materials, it came as a surprise that H. jecorina does not possess a carbon sensing GPCR.