Understanding directional growth in fungi.

Alexandra C. Brand

Author address: 

Aberdeen Fungal Group, Univ Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom.


Fungal hyphae are programmed to explore their surroundings in search of nutrients and, for pathogens, success can depend on locating and identifying suitable host penetration sites. Fungi have therefore evolved mechanisms that link the sensing of environmental cues with an appropriate growth response. The intracellular components involved in polarised growth in fungi are generally well-conserved and have been studied in model organisms such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa and Aspergillus spp. However, how environmental signals interact with the molecular machinery of hyphal tip growth is less well-understood. Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that exhibits pre-programmed, or tropic, growth responses to specific stimuli. This makes it a useful model for dissection of the regulatory pathways that control hyphal tip behaviour. A variety of external stimuli, including electric fields, surface modification and nanofabrication techniques, have been used to examine the physical properties of apical growth, such as directional memory, asymmetric tip organisation and hyphal tip force. In addition, these methods have been coupled with reverse genetics, fluorescence protein-tagging and live-cell imaging to identify cell-polarity components that can enhance, or even reverse, the direction of hyphal growth. The evidence to date suggests that the direction of hyphal growth reflects the net output from overlapping positional determinants. In addition, there is a strong association between proper hyphal tip regulation and the ability of a fungus to invade and damage host tissue

abstract No: 


Full conference title: 

27th Fungal Genetics Conference
    • Fungal Genetics Conference 27th (2013)