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J Plant Res. 2007 Jan;120(1):53-60. Epub 2006 Oct 5.

Role of microtubules in tip growth of fungi.

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Institute of Health Biosciences, University of Tokushima Graduate School, 3-18-15 Kuramoto, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan.


Polarized cell growth is observed ubiquitously in all living organisms. Tip growth of filamentous fungi serves as a typical model for polar growth. It is well known that the actin cytoskeleton plays a central role in cellular growth. In contrast, the role of microtubules in polar growth of fungal tip cells has not been critically addressed. Our recent study, using a green fluorescent protein (GFP)-labeled tubulin-expressing strain of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans and treatment with an anti-microtubule reagent, revealed that microtubules are essential for rapid hyphal growth. Our results indicated that microtubule organization contributes to continuous tip growth throughout the cell cycle, which in turn enables the maintenance of an appropriate mass of cytoplasm for the multinucleate system. In filamentous fungi, the microtubule is an essential component of the tip growth machinery that enables continuous and rapid growth. Recent research developments are starting to elucidate the components of the tip growth machinery and their functions in many organisms. This recent knowledge, in turn, is starting to enhance the importance of fungal systems as simple model systems to understand the polar growth of cells.

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