Hydrophobins are amphipathic secretory proteins with eight conserved cysteine residues and are ubiquitous among filamentous fungi. In the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, the hydrophobin RolA and the polyesterase CutL1 are co-expressed when the sole available carbon source is the biodegradable polyester polybutylene succinate-co-adipate (PBSA). RolA promotes the degradation of PBSA by attaching to the particle surface, changing its structure and interacting with CutL1 to concentrate CutL1 on the PBSA surface. We previously reported that positively charged residues in RolA and negatively charged residues in CutL1 are cooperatively involved in the ionic interaction between RolA and CutL1. We also reported that hydrophobin RodA of the model fungus Aspergillus nidulans, which was obtained via an A. oryzae expression system, interacted via ionic interactions with CutL1. In the present study, phylogenetic and alignment analyses revealed that the N-terminal regions of several RolA orthologs contained positively charged residues and that the corresponding negatively charged residues on the surface of CutL1 that were essential for the RolA–CutL1 interaction were highly conserved in several CutL1 orthologs. A PBSA microparticle degradation assay, a pull-down assay using a dispersion of Teflon particles, and a kinetic analysis using a quartz crystal microbalance revealed that recombinant A. nidulans RodA interacted via ionic interactions with two recombinant A. nidulans cutinases. Together, these results imply that ionic interactions between hydrophobins and cutinases may be common among aspergilli and other filamentous fungi.
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