Optimal codons in Tremella fuciformis end in C/G, a strong difference with known Tremella species

Youjin Deng, Xiaoxing Huang, Banzhan Ruan, Baogui Xie, Arend F. van Peer*, Yuji Jiang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Tremella fuciformis is a popular edible fungus with fruiting bodies that can be produced in large quantities at low costs, while it is easy to transform and cultivate as yeast. This makes it an attractive potential bioreactor. Enhanced heterologous gene expression through codon optimization would be useful, but until now codon usage preferences in T. fuciformis remain unknown. To precisely determine the preferred codon usage of T. fuciformis we sequenced the genome of strain Tr26 resulting in a 24.2 Mb draft genome with 10,040 predicted genes. 3288 of the derived predicted proteins matched the UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot databases with 40 % or more similarity. Corresponding gene models of this subset were subsequently optimized through repetitive comparison of alternative start codons and selection of best length matching gene models. For experimental confirmation of gene models, 96 random clones from an existing T. fuciformis cDNA library were sequenced, generating 80 complete CDSs. Calculated optimal codons for the 3288 predicted and the 80 cloned CDSs were highly similar, indicating sufficient accuracy of predicted gene models for codon usage analysis. T. fuciformis showed a strong preference for C and then G at the third base pair position of used codons, while average GC content of predicted genes was slightly higher than the total genome sequence average. Most optimal codons ended in C or G except for one, and an increased frequency of C ending codons was observed in genes with higher expression levels. Surprisingly, the preferred codon usage in T. fuciformis strongly differed from T. mesenterica and C. neoformans. Instead, optimal codon usage was similar to more distant related species such as Ustilago maydis and Neurospora crassa. Despite much higher overall sequence homology between T. fuciformis and T. mesenterica, only 7 out of 21 optimal codons were equal, whereas T. fuciformis shared up to 20 out of 21 optimal codons with other species. Clearly, codon usage in Tremella can differ largely and should be estimated for individual species. The precise identification of optimal and high expression related codons is therefore an important step in the development of T. fuciformis as a bioreactor system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1691-1698
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • cDNA library
  • Genome sequencing
  • Relative frequency of synonymous codons
  • Relative synonymous codon usage

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