The model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa colonizes freshly burned plant material and shows robust growth on cellulosic material. Filamentous fungi are of interest to bioenergy researchers because they provide insights into improving plant cell wall deconstruction, which could be useful for second-generation biofuels production. Through a systems biology approach, researchers hope to harness the genomic resources of N. crassa to enable the construction of high-resolution models of how genes are regulated at a genome-wide scale and allow predictive power for rationale engineering of organisms for industrial purposes. The goal is to develop a nutritional regulatory map that will be important for the discovery of the function of new regulatory factors and regulons associated with resource utilization. The studies are also expected to enrich the genome annotation of N. crassa, and by extension, the numerous fungal genomes sequenced or currently being sequenced, including the work being done as part of the 1000 Fungal Genomes Project.
PI: N. Louise Glass, UC Berkeley