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Biophys J. 2000 Nov;79(5):2382-90.

Mapping the growth of fungal hyphae: orthogonal cell wall expansion during tip growth and the role of turgor.

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Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA.


By computer-enhanced videomicroscopy, we mapped the trajectory of external and internal cell surface markers in growing fungal hyphae to determine the pattern of cell wall expansion during apical growth. Carbon particles (India ink) were chosen as external markers for tip expansion of Rhizoctonia solani hyphae. Irregularities in the growing apical walls of R. solani served as internal markers. Marker movement was traced in captured frames from the videotaped sequences. External and internal markers both followed orthogonal trajectories; i.e., they moved perpendicular to the cell surface regardless of their initial position in the hyphal apex. We found no evidence that the tip rotates during elongation. The discovery that the cell wall of a growing hypha expands orthogonally has major repercussions on two fronts: 1) It supports the long-held view that turgor pressure is the main force driving cell wall expansion. 2) It provides crucial information to complete the mathematical derivation of a three-dimensional model of hyphal morphogenesis based on the vesicle supply center concept. In three dimensions, the vesicle gradient generated by the vesicle supply center is insufficient to explain shape; it is also necessary to know the manner in which the existing surface is displaced during wall expansion.

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