Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version

June 2006


Published in EUKARYOTIC CELL, June 2006, p. 881–895 Vol. 5, No. 6. Copyright © 2006, American Society for Microbiology. Used by permission.


The importance of polarized growth for fungi has elicited significant effort directed at better understanding underlying mechanisms of polarization, with a focus on yeast systems. At sites of tip growth, multiple protein complexes assemble and coordinate to ensure that incoming building material reaches the appropriate destination sites, and polarized growth is maintained. One of these complexes is the polarisome that consists of Spa2, Bud6, Pea2, and Bni1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Filamentous hyphae differ in their development and life style from yeasts and likely regulate polarized growth in a different way. This is expected to reflect on the composition and presence of protein complexes that assemble at the hyphal tip. In this study we searched for polarisome homologues in the model filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans and characterized the S. cerevisiae Spa2 and Bud6 homologues, SpaA and BudA. Compared to the . cerevisiae Spa2, SpaA lacks domain II but has three additional domains that are conserved within filamentous fungi. Gene replacement strains and localization studies show that SpaA functions exclusively at the hyphal tip, while BudA functions at sites of septum formation and possibly at hyphal tips. We show that SpaA is not required for the assembly or maintenance of the Spitzenkö̈rper. We propose that the core function of the polarisome in polarized growth is maintained but with different contributions of polarisome components to the process.