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Mol Microbiol. 2012 Aug;85(4):716-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2012.08133.x. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

RHO1 and RHO2 share partially overlapping functions in the regulation of cell wall integrity and hyphal polarity in Neurospora crassa.

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  • 1Institute for Microbiology and Genetics, University of Göttingen, Grisebachstr. 8, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany.


Rho proteins are key regulators of cellular morphogenesis, but their function in filamentous fungi is poorly understood. By generating conditional rho-1 mutants, we dissected the function of the essential GTPase RHO1 in cell polarization and maintenance of cell wall integrity in Neurospora crassa. We identified NCU00668/RGF1 as RHO1-specific exchange factor, which controls actin organization and the cell wall integrity MAK1 MAP kinase pathway through the direct interaction of active RHO1 with the formin BNI1 and PKC1 respectively. The activity of RGF1 is controlled by an intramolecular interaction of its DEP and GEF domains that blocks the activation of the GTPase. Moreover, the N-terminal region including the DEP domain of RGF1 interacts with the plasma membrane sensor NCU06910/WSC1, potentially to activate the cell wall integrity pathway. RHO1 also functions as regulatory subunit of the glucan synthase. N. crassa possesses a second GTPase, RHO2, that is highly homologous to RHO1. RHO2 is of minor importance for growth and does not interact with BNI1. Conditional rho-1;rho-2 double mutants display strong synthetic growth and cell polarity defects. We show that RHO2 does not regulate glucan synthase activity and the actin cytoskeleton, but physically interacts with PKC1 to regulate the cell wall integrity pathway.

© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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