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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 24;9(3):e92819. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092819. eCollection 2014.

Distinct septin heteropolymers co-exist during multicellular development in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans.

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Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America.
Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America.


Septins are important components of the cytoskeleton that are highly conserved in eukaryotes and play major roles in cytokinesis, patterning, and many developmental processes. Septins form heteropolymers which assemble into higher-order structures including rings, filaments, and gauzes. In contrast to actin filaments and microtubules, the molecular mechanism by which septins assemble is not well-understood. Here, we report that in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans, four core septins form heteropolymeric complexes. AspE, a fifth septin lacking in unicellular yeasts, interacts with only one of the core septins, and only during multicellular growth. AspE is required for proper localization of three of the core septins, and requires this same subset of core septins for its own unique cortical localization. The ΔaspE mutant lacks developmentally-specific septin higher-order structures and shows reduced spore production and slow growth with low temperatures and osmotic stress. Our results show that at least two distinct septin heteropolymer populations co-exist in A. nidulans, and that while AspE is not a subunit of either heteropolymer, it is required for assembly of septin higher-order structures found in multicellular development.

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