Carbon starvation is a common stress for micro-organisms both in nature and in industry. The carbon starvation stress response (CSSR) involves the regulation of several important processes including programmed cell death and reproduction of fungi, secondary metabolite production and extracellular hydrolase formation. To gain insight into the physiological events of CSSR, DNA microarray analyses supplemented with real-time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) experiments on 99 selected genes were performed. These data demonstrated that carbon starvation induced very complex changes in the transcriptome. Several genes contributing to protein synthesis were upregulated together with genes involved in the unfolded protein stress response. The balance between biosynthesis and degradation moved towards degradation in the case of cell wall, carbohydrate, lipid and nitrogen metabolism, which was accompanied by the production of several hydrolytic enzymes and the induction of macroautophagy. These processes provide the cultures with longterm survival by liberating nutrients through degradation of the cell constituents. The induced synthesis of secondary metabolites, antifungal enzymes and proteins as well as bacterial cell walldegrading enzymes demonstrated that carbon-starving fungi should have marked effects on the micro-organisms in their surroundings. Due to the increased production of extracellular and vacuolar enzymes during carbon starvation, the importance of the endoplasmic reticulum increased considerably.
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