Functional analyses of Agaricus bisporus Serine Proteinase 1 (SPR1) reveals a role in utilisation of humic rich substrates and adaptation to the leaf-litter ecological niche

Mary N Heneghan, C Burns, Ana M S B Costa, K S Burton, Michael P Challen, Andy M Bailey, Gary D Foster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
311 Downloads (Pure)


Agaricus bisporus is a secondary decomposer fungus and an excellent model for the adaptation, persistence and growth of fungi in humic-rich environments such as soils of temperate woodland and pastures. The A. bisporus serine proteinase SPR1 is induced by humic acids and is highly expressed during growth on compost.

Three Spr1 gene silencing cassettes were constructed around sense, antisense and non-translatable-stop strategies (pGRsensehph, pGRantihph and pGRstophph). Transformation of A. bisporus with these cassettes generated cultures showing a reduction in extracellular proteinase activity as demonstrated by the reduction, or abolition, of a clearing zone on plate-based bioassays. These lines were then assessed by detailed enzyme assay, RT-qPCR and fruiting.

Serine proteinase activity in liquid cultures was reduced in 83% of transformants. RT-qPCR showed reduced Spr1 mRNA levels in all transformants analysed, and these correlated with reduced enzyme activity. When fruiting was induced, highly-silenced transformant AS5 failed to colonise the compost, whilst for those that did colonise the compost, 60% gave a reduction in mushroom yield.

Transcriptional, biochemical and developmental observations, demonstrate that SPR1 has an important role in nutrient acquisition in compost and that SPR1 is a key enzyme in the adaptation of Agaricus to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during biomass degradation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4687-4696
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Early online date7 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2016


  • Agaricus bisporus
  • Serine Proteinase
  • humic substances
  • wood decay fungi
  • humic response element


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional analyses of <i>Agaricus bisporus </i>Serine Proteinase 1 (SPR1) reveals a role in utilisation of humic rich substrates and adaptation to the leaf-litter ecological niche'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this