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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42374. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042374. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

WSC-1 and HAM-7 are MAK-1 MAP kinase pathway sensors required for cell wall integrity and hyphal fusion in Neurospora crassa.

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Department of Biological Sciences, State University of New York, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, United States of America.


A large number of cell wall proteins are encoded in the Neurospora crassa genome. Strains carrying gene deletions of 65 predicted cell wall proteins were characterized. Deletion mutations in two of these genes (wsc-1 and ham-7) have easily identified morphological and inhibitor-based defects. Their phenotypic characterization indicates that HAM-7 and WSC-1 function during cell-to-cell hyphal fusion and in cell wall integrity maintenance, respectively. wsc-1 encodes a transmembrane protein with extensive homology to the yeast Wsc family of sensor proteins. In N. crassa, WSC-1 (and its homolog WSC-2) activates the cell wall integrity MAK-1 MAP kinase pathway. The GPI-anchored cell wall protein HAM-7 is required for cell-to-cell fusion and the sexual stages of the N. crassa life cycle. Like WSC-1, HAM-7 is required for activating MAK-1. A Δwsc-1;Δham-7 double mutant fully phenocopies mutants lacking components of the MAK-1 MAP kinase cascade. The data identify WSC-1 and HAM-7 as the major cell wall sensors that regulate two distinct MAK-1-dependent cellular activities, cell wall integrity and hyphal anastomosis, respectively.

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