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PLoS Genet. 2009 Jun;5(6):e1000521. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000521. Epub 2009 Jun 19.

A tether for Woronin body inheritance is associated with evolutionary variation in organelle positioning.

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  • 1Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory and Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Eukaryotic organelles evolve to support the lifestyle of evolutionarily related organisms. In the fungi, filamentous Ascomycetes possess dense-core organelles called Woronin bodies (WBs). These organelles originate from peroxisomes and perform an adaptive function to seal septal pores in response to cellular wounding. Here, we identify Leashin, an organellar tether required for WB inheritance, and associate it with evolutionary variation in the subcellular pattern of WB distribution. In Neurospora, the leashin (lah) locus encodes two related adjacent genes. N-terminal sequences of LAH-1 bind WBs via the WB-specific membrane protein WSC, and C-terminal sequences are required for WB inheritance by cell cortex association. LAH-2 is localized to the hyphal apex and septal pore rim and plays a role in colonial growth. In most species, WBs are tethered directly to the pore rim, however, Neurospora and relatives have evolved a delocalized pattern of cortex association. Using a new method for the construction of chromosomally encoded fusion proteins, marker fusion tagging (MFT), we show that a LAH-1/LAH-2 fusion can reproduce the ancestral pattern in Neurospora. Our results identify the link between the WB and cell cortex and suggest that splitting of leashin played a key role in the adaptive evolution of organelle localization.

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