Fungal laccases are phenol oxidases widely studied for their use in several industrial applications, including pulp bleaching in paper industry, dye decolourisation, detoxification of environmental pollutants and revalorization of wastes and wastewaters. The main difficulty in using these enzymes at industrial scale ensues from their production costs. Elucidation of the components and the mechanisms involved in regulation of laccase gene expression is crucial for increasing the productivity of native laccases in fungi. Laccase gene transcription is regulated by metal ions, various aromatic compounds related to lignin or lignin derivatives, nitrogen and carbon sources. In this manuscript, most of the published results on fungal laccase induction, as well as analyses of both the sequences and putative functions of laccase gene promoters are reviewed. Analyses of promoter sequences allow defining a correlation between the observed regulatory effects on laccase gene transcription and the presence of specific responsive elements, and postulating, in some cases, a mechanism for their functioning. Only few reports have investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying laccase regulation by different stimuli. The reported analyses suggest the existence of a complex picture of laccase regulation phenomena acting through a variety of cis acting elements. However, the general mechanisms for laccase transcriptional regulation are far from being unravelled yet.
Keywords: ACE1, aromatic compounds, copper, MRE, nitrogen, promoter, XRE, phenol oxidases, Transcriptional Regulation, morphogenesis
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