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Autophagy. 2006 Jul-Sep;2(3):226-7. Epub 2006 Jul 10.

Possible involvement of pleiomorphic vacuolar networks in nutrient recycling in filamentous fungi.

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Department of Biotechnology, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Morphological analyses of vacuoles in filamentous fungi in the past decade have led to the remarkable finding that they are highly pleiomorphic organelles. Among them, tubular vacuoles have been implicated in nutrient transport between hyphal tips and the host plant surface in mycorrhizal fungi. However, a series of works suggested the presence of tubular vacuoles in other fungi that are not mycorrhizal, including Aspergillus oryzae, hinting at more general roles of the tubular vacuoles. Recently, we made two key observations by using the fusion protein of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) with a putative vacuolar t-SNARE in A. oryzae; tubular vacuoles formed more extensively in hyphae that were not in contact with nutrients, and vacuoles that were interconnected by tubules in the mature mycelial region displayed traces of microautophagy-mediated degradation of cytoplasm. The aim of this addendum is to discuss the possible involvement of vacuoles in degrading, transporting, and recycling nutrients from the mature mycelial region to hyphal tips, to support the continuous tip growth.

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