The fungal kingdom provides an extraordinary opportunity to study the evolution of development in eukaryotic systems. Fungi are physiologically similar to higher Metazoa, yet they have numerous experimental advantages including: rapid generation times, ease of culturing, haploid genomes with well developed classical genetic systems, complete publicly accessible genome databases for at least 100s of species, and well-developed cell biological systems. The basic growth form of filamentous fungi is the hypha, which extends at its apex by polar elongation. The basic growth mode of producing hyphae is the same for fungi studied in my laboratory: Aspergillus nidulans and Colletotrichum graminicola.. The morphological events in hyphal elongation are similar in that all growth is directed toward the apex of the leading cell compartment. Furthermore, each of these fungi reproduces asexually through production of conidia, specialized propagules that disperse the organism spatially and temporally to new substrates. Since germination of these propagules and subsequent invasive polarized growth is required for fungal disease in countless human, animal and plant diseases, there is considerable need for an understanding of how conidia germinate and how fungal hyphae are generated. Ongoing projects in my laboratory are designed to elucidate mechanisms of fungal growth and development and will pursue the following two broad objectives.Assess the role of spore attachment in triggering germination of fungal propagules.Test the role of endocytic machinery in regulating cell shape during fungal growth.
MECHANISMS OF FUNGAL GROWTH, DEVELOPMENT AND DISPERSAL
Shaw, Br, Do.
Texas A&M University