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Fungal Genet Biol. 2008 Jun;45(6):1027-39. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2008.02.006. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Lack of the GTPase RHO-4 in Neurospora crassa causes a reduction in numbers and aberrant stabilization of microtubules at hyphal tips.

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Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, 111 Koshland Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3102, USA.


The multinucleate hyphae of the filamentous ascomycete fungus Neurospora crassa grow by polarized hyphal tip extension. Both the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton are required for maximum hyphal extension, in addition to other vital processes. Previously, we have shown that the monomeric GTPase encoded by the N. crassa rho-4 locus is required for actin ring formation during the process of septation; rho-4 mutants lack septa. However, other phenotypic aspects of the rho-4 mutant, such as slow growth and cytoplasmic bleeding, led us to examine the hypothesis that the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton of the rho-4 mutant was affected in morphology and dynamics. Unlike a wild-type strain, the rho-4 mutant had few MTs and these few MTs originated from nuclear spindle pole bodies. rho-4 mutants and rho-4 strains containing a GTP-locked (activated) rho-4 allele showed a reduction in numbers of cytoplasmic MTs and microtubule stabilization at hyphal tips. Strains containing a GDP-biased (negative) allele of rho-4 showed normal numbers of MTs and minor effects on microtubule stabilization. An examination of nuclear dynamics revealed that rho-4 mutants have large, and often, stretched or broken nuclei. These observations indicate that RHO-4 plays important roles in regulating both the actin and MT cytoskeleton, which are essential for optimal hyphal tip growth and in nuclear distribution and morphology.

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