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Microbiol Rev. 1990 Sep;54(3):266-92.

The fungal vacuole: composition, function, and biogenesis.

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  • 1Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125.


The fungal vacuole is an extremely complex organelle that is involved in a wide variety of functions. The vacuole not only carries out degradative processes, the role most often ascribed to it, but also is the primary storage site for certain small molecules and biosynthetic precursors such as basic amino acids and polyphosphate, plays a role in osmoregulation, and is involved in the precise homeostatic regulation of cytosolic ion and basic amino acid concentration and intracellular pH. These many functions necessitate an intricate interaction between the vacuole and the rest of the cell; the vacuole is part of both the secretory and endocytic pathways and is also directly accessible from the cytosol. Because of the various roles and properties of the vacuole, it has been possible to isolate mutants which are defective in various vacuolar functions including the storage and uptake of metabolites, regulation of pH, sorting and processing of vacuolar proteins, and vacuole biogenesis. These mutants show a remarkable degree of genetic overlap, suggesting that these functions are not individual, discrete properties of the vacuole but, rather, are closely interrelated.

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