Wood-rotting basidiomycetes possess superior metabolic functions to degrade woody biomass, and these activities are indispensable for the carbon cycle of the biosphere. As well as basic studies of the biochemistry of basidiomycetes, many researchers have been focusing on utilizing basidiomycetes and/or their enzymes in the biotechnology sector; therefore, the unique activities of their extracellular and intracellular enzymes have been widely demonstrated. A rich history of applied study has established that basidiomycetes are capable of metabolizing a series of endogeneous and exogeneous compounds using cytochrome P450s (P450s). Recently, whole genome sequence analyses have revealed large-scale divergences in basidiomycetous P450s. The tremendous variation in P450s implies that basidiomycetes have vigorously diversified monooxygenase functions to acquire metabolic adaptations such as lignin degradation, secondary metabolite production, and xenobiotics detoxification. However, fungal P450s discovered from genome projects are often categorized into novel families and subfamilies, making it difficult to predict catalytic functions by sequence comparison. Experimental screening therefore remains essential to elucidate the catalytic potential of individual P450s, even in this postgenomic era. This paper archives the known metabolic capabilities of basidiomycetes, focusing on their P450s, outlines the molecular diversity of basidiomycetous P450s, and introduces new functions revealed by functionomic studies using a recently developed, rapid, functional screening system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Biomedical Engineering
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Drug Discovery
- Process Chemistry and Technology