Branching is coordinated with mitosis in growing hyphae of Aspergillus nidulans

Jens Østergaard Dynesen, Jens Nielsen

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    Filamentous fungi like Aspergillus nidulans can effectively colonize their surroundings by the formation of new branches along the existing hyphae. While growth conditions, chemical perturbations, and mutations affecting branch formation have received great attention during the last decades, the mechanisms that regulates branching is still poorly understood. In this study, a possible relation between cell cycle progression and branching was studied by testing the effect of a nuclei distribution mutation, cell cycle inhibitors. and conditional cell cycle mutations in combination with tip-growth inhibitors and varying substrate concentrations on branch initiation. Formation of branches was blocked after inhibition of nuclear division, which was not caused by a reduced growth rate. In hyphae of a nuclei distribution mutant branching was severely reduced in anucleated hyphae whereas the number of branches per hyphal length was linearly correlated to the concentration of nuclei, in the nucleated hyphae. In wild type cells, branching intensity was increased when the tip extension was reduced, and reduced when growing on poor substrates. In these situations, the hyphal concentration of nuclei was maintained and it is suggested that branching is correlated to cell cycle progression in order to maintain a minimum required cytoplasmic volume per nucleus and to avoid the formation of anucleated hyphae in the absence of nuclear divisions. The presented results further suggest the hyphal diameter as a key point through which the hyphal element regulates its branching intensity in response to the surrounding substrate concentrations.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)15-24
    Publication statusPublished - 2003

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