Author(s): de Bekker C, van Veluw GJ, Vinck A, Wiebenga LA, Wsten HA
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Abstract The fungus Aspergillus niger forms (sub)millimeter microcolonies within a liquid shaken culture. Here, we show that such microcolonies are heterogeneous with respect to size and gene expression. Microcolonies of strains expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the promoter of the glucoamlyase gene glaA or the ferulic acid esterase gene faeA were sorted on the basis of diameter and fluorescence using the Complex Object Parametric Analyzer and Sorter (COPAS) technology. Statistical analysis revealed that the liquid shaken culture consisted of two populations of microcolonies that differ by 90 μm in diameter. The population of small microcolonies of strains expressing GFP from the glaA or faeA promoter comprised 39\% and 25\% of the culture, respectively. Two populations of microcolonies could also be distinguished when the expression of GFP in these strains was analyzed. The population expressing a low level of GFP consisted of 68\% and 44\% of the culture, respectively. We also show that mRNA accumulation is heterogeneous within microcolonies of A. niger. Central and peripheral parts of the mycelium were isolated with laser microdissection and pressure catapulting (LMPC), and RNA from these samples was used for quantitative PCR analysis. This analysis showed that the RNA content per hypha was about 45 times higher at the periphery than in the center of the microcolony. Our data imply that the protein production of A. niger can be improved in industrial fermentations by reducing the heterogeneity within the culture.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology