Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 534400
Title Enzyme activities at different stages of plant biomass decomposition in three species of fungusgrowing termites
Author(s) Costa, Rafael R. da; Hu, Haofu; Pilgaard, Bo; Sabine, Sabine M.; Schückel, Julia; Pedersen, Kristine S.K.; Kračun, Stjepan K.; Busk, Peter K.; Harholt, Jesper; Sapountzis, Panagiotis; Lange, Lene; Aanen, Duur K.; Poulsen, Michael
Source Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84 (2018)5. - ISSN 0099-2240
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01815-17
Department(s) Laboratory of Genetics
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) AZCL - Chromogenic substrates - HPLC - Macrotermes - Odontotermes - Peptide pattern recognition - Plant substrate - RNA-seq - Symbiosis - Termitomyces
Abstract Fungus-growing termites rely on mutualistic fungi of the genus Termitomyces and gut microbes for plant biomass degradation. Due to a certain degree of symbiont complementarity, this tripartite symbiosis has evolved as a complex bioreactor, enabling decomposition of nearly any plant polymer, likely contributing to the success of the termites as one of the main plant decomposers in the Old World. In this study, we evaluated which plant polymers are decomposed and which enzymes are active during the decomposition process in two major genera of fungus-growing termites. We found a diversity of active enzymes at different stages of decomposition and a consistent decrease in plant components during the decomposition process. Furthermore, our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that termites transport enzymes from the older mature parts of the fungus comb through young worker guts to freshly inoculated plant substrate. However, preliminary fungal RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses suggest that this likely transport is supplemented with enzymes produced in situ. Our findings support that the maintenance of an external fungus comb, inoculated with an optimal mixture of plant material, fungal spores, and enzymes, is likely the key to the extraordinarily efficient plant decomposition in fungus-growing termites.
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