Whole genome and global gene expression analyses of the model mushroom Flammulina velutipes reveal a high capacity for lignocellulose degradation.
Flammulina velutipes is a fungus with health and medicinal benefits that has been used for consumption and cultivation in East Asia. F. velutipes is also known to degrade lignocellulose and produce ethanol. The overlapping interests of mushroom production and wood bioconversion make F. velutipes an attractive new model for fungal wood related studies. Here, we present the complete sequence of the F. velutipes genome. This is the first sequenced genome for a commercially produced edible mushroom that also degrades wood. The 35.6-Mb genome contained 12,218 predicted protein-encoding genes and 287 tRNA genes assembled into 11 scaffolds corresponding with the 11 chromosomes of strain KACC42780. The 88.4-kb mitochondrial genome contained 35 genes. Well-developed wood degrading machinery with strong potential for lignin degradation (69 auxiliary activities, formerly FOLymes) and carbohydrate degradation (392 CAZymes), along with 58 alcohol dehydrogenase genes were highly expressed in the mycelium, demonstrating the potential application of this organism to bioethanol production. Thus, the newly uncovered wood degrading capacity and sequential nature of this process in F. velutipes, offer interesting possibilities for more detailed studies on either lignin or (hemi-) cellulose degradation in complex wood substrates. The mutual interest in wood degradation by the mushroom industry and (ligno-)cellulose biomass related industries further increase the significance of F. velutipes as a new model.