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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2001 May 30;199(2):153-60.

The molecular mechanisms of conidial germination.

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Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, P.O. Box 54, The University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The asexual spore, or conidium, is critical in the life cycle of many fungi because it is the primary means for dispersion and serves as a 'safe house' for the fungal genome in adverse environmental conditions. This review discusses the physiological process of germination, conidial adhesion and initiation of protein synthesis and also the regulatory pathways used to activate conidial germination. These include Ca(2+)/calmodulin-mediated signaling, the cyclic AMP/protein kinase A and the ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathways. Insights into the process of conidial germination will increase our understanding of the mechanisms of dormancy and sensing of environmental stimuli, and permit identification of novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of spore-borne fungal infections in plants and animals.

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