Engineering of holocellulase in biomass-degrading fungi for sustainable biofuel production

Amanda Cristina Campos Antoniêto, David Batista Maués, Karoline Maria Vieira Nogueira, Renato Graciano de Paula, Andrei Stecca Steindorff, John F. Kennedy, Ashok Pandey, Vijai Kumar Gupta*, Roberto N. Silva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Biofuels, such as bioethanol, are a clean and sustainable form of energy and have emerged as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. Plant biomass is an important raw material for the production of clean and renewable energy. The holocellulose contained in the composition of plants may be broken down into simple sugars, such as glucose, which are fermented by yeast to produce bioethanol. The conversion of glucose polymers into fermentable sugars is accomplished by enzymes known as holocellulases, which are produced by lignocellulolytic fungi. These enzymes act synergistically for the efficient degradation of cellulose polymers, and the fine and coordinated regulation of this process is performed by transcription factors (TFs). TFs are regulatory proteins that bind to the promoter region of their target genes (CAZymes, sugar transporters, signaling proteins, other TFs, etc.) to induce or repress their transcription. This review aims to understand the main regulatory mechanisms involved in plant biomass degradation by the most studied lignocellulolytic fungi Trichoderma sp., Aspergillus sp., Penicillium sp., and Neurospora crassa. In this context, the most studied TFs related to holocellulose degradation and genetic modification of TFs or promoters as a valuable tool to improve enzyme production for biotechnological purposes have been discussed. This review enables the expansion of knowledge on the regulation of the cellulolytic system of filamentous fungi and the application of this knowledge to the improvement of numerous bioproducts. Engineering TFs and promoters may yield more efficient strains that may be active in plant biomass hydrolysis. In this way, the technological processes for obtaining ethanol from lignocellulose may become more commercially viable.

Original languageEnglish
Article number133488
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Early online date24 Aug 2022
Publication statusPrint publication - 15 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Cellulosic ethanol
  • Gene expression
  • Holocellulase
  • Lignocellulolytic fungi
  • Promoter engineering
  • Transcription factor
  • Transcriptional regulation


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