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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2011 Oct;22(8):806-15. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2011.08.010. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Polarized growth in fungi: symmetry breaking and hyphal formation.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Institute of Developmental Biology and Cancer, CNRS-UMR6543 Faculté des Sciences, Nice, France.


Cell shape is a critical determinant for function. The baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae changes shape in response to its environment, growing by budding in rich nutrients, forming invasive pseudohyphal filaments in nutrient poor conditions and pear shaped shmoos for growth towards a partner during mating. The human opportunistic pathogen Candida albicans can switch from budding to hyphal growth, in response to numerous environmental stimuli to colonize and invade its host. Hyphal growth, typical of filamentous fungi, is not observed in S. cerevisiae. A number of internal cues regulate when and where yeast cells break symmetry leading to polarized growth and ultimately distinct cell shapes. This review discusses how cells break symmetry using the yeast S. cerevisiae paradigm and how polarized growth is initiated and maintained to result in dramatic morphological changes during C. albicans hyphal growth.

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