Yeast-like cell formation and glutathione metabolism in autolysing cultures of Penicillium chrysogenum

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The bulk formation of yeast-like (arthrospore-like) cells were typical in carbon-depleted submerged cultures of the high β-lactam producer Penicillium chrysogenum NCAIM 00237 strain independently of the nitrogen-content of the culture medium. This morphogenetic switch was still quite common in carbonstarving cultures of the low-penicillin-producer strain P. chrysogenum ATCC 28089 (Wis 54-1255) when the nitrogen-content of the medium was low but was a very rare event in wild-type P. chrysogenum cultures. The mycelium→yeast-like cell transition correlated well with a relatively high glutathione concentration and a reductive glutathione/glutathione disulfite (GSH/GSSG) redox balance in autolysing cultures, which was a consequence of industrial strain development. Paradoxically, the development of high β-lactam productivity resulted in a high intracellular GSH level and, concomitantly, in an increased γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (i.e. GSH-decomposing) activity in the autolytic phase of growth of P. chrysogenum NCAIM 00237. The hypothesized causal connection between GSH metabolism and cell morphology, if verified, may help us in future metabolic engineering of industrially important filamentous fungi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-440
Number of pages10
JournalActa biologica Hungarica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2007



  • Acremonium chrysogenum
  • Arthrospores
  • Cell death
  • Fragmentation
  • Glutathione status
  • Morphology
  • Penicillium chrysogenum
  • Yeast-like cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Neurology

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