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Fungal Genet Biol. 2007 Jul;44(7):672-81. Epub 2007 Jan 19.

Kinetics of circadian band development in Neurospora crassa.

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Department of Microbiology, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (CICESE), Km. 107 Carretera Tijuana-Ensenada, 22860 Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.


The circadian rhythm of Neurospora crassa can be seen as a conidiation rhythm that produces concentric rings of bands (conidiating regions) alternating with interbands (non-conidiating regions) on the surface of an agar medium. To follow quantitatively this rhythm, densitometric analysis, gravimetric procedures, and video microscopy were employed. The circadian behavior of N. crassa is commonly monitored by cultivation in race tubes; in this work we report different growth kinetics during cultivation in conventional Petri dish cultures. Two different growth parameters were measured: total colony mass (true growth rate) and distance (colony radial expansion or hyphal elongation). Determinations of cellular mass revealed a dramatic circadian oscillation with a marked drop in growth rate during new interband formation followed by a sharp increase during the development of a new conidiation band. On the other hand, we found that the radial expansion of the colony previously reported to decrease periodically seemed unaffected by the circadian clock. Densitometric analysis showed no initial difference in the expanding margin of the colony, independent of whether that area was destined to be a band or an interband. The band areas increased rapidly in density for about 15 h whereas the interband areas maintained an equally rapid rate of increase for only 6h. The density of band areas kept increasing slowly for almost 40 h, along with an increase in the amount of conidia. Video microscopy showed the importance of cytoplasmic flow in colony development with continuous forward flow to support hyphal morphogenesis and reverse flow to support an extended period of conidiogenesis. Our results indicate that the circadian system of Neurospora can be expressed at the level of cellular mass formation, not just as the developmental conidiation rhythm.

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