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Crit Rev Microbiol. 1997;23(1):1-46.

Transport of small lons and molecules through the plasma membrane of filamentous fungi.

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Institute of Microbiology, Innsbruck, Austria.


Less than 1% of the estimated number of fungal species have been investigated concerning the transport of low-molecular-weight nutrients and metabolites through the plasma membrane. This is surprising if one considers the importance of the processes at the plasma membrane for the cell: this membrane mediates between the cell and its environment. Concentrating on filamentous fungi, in this review emphasis is placed on relating results from biophysical chemistry, membrane transport, fungal physiology, and fungal ecology. Among the treated subjects are the consequences of the small dimension of hyphae, the habitat and membrane transport, the properties of the plasma membrane, the efflux of metabolites, and the regulation of membrane transport. Special attention is given to methodological problems occurring with filamentous fungi. A great part of the presented material relies on work with Neurospora crassa, because for this fungus the most complete picture of plasma membrane transport exists. Following the conviction that we need "concepts instead of experiments", we delineate the lively network of membrane transport systems rather than listing the properties of single transport systems.

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