The Role of Actin in Hyphal Tip Growth
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
This thesis investigates whether there are alternative mechanisms of tip growth in invasive and non-invasive hyphae of the fungus Neurospora crassa. The cytoskeleton protein actin is thought to play a pivotal role in hyphal tip growth, performing a multitude of tasks, one of which may be the provision of a resistive force to counter turgor pressure.
An Actin depleted zone (ADZ) was the dominant feature of invasive hyphal tips, which was largely absent from non-invasive hyphae. The Spitzenkörper was slightly larger in invasive hyphae but this size difference alone was thought insufficient to account for the exclusion of filamentous actin (F-actin) from the tip. The actin nucleating protein formin was found at sites where actin nucleation is occurring, while cofilin, a protein that severs F-actin, was found to localise where F-actin disassembly was likely to be occurring. It is suggested that these proteins are likely to play a role in controlling a dynamic cytoskeleton, rearrangements of which are required for the two modes of growth. Invasive hyphae were found to generate a higher turgor than non-invasive hyphae.
These results suggest that the F-actin rearrangements facilitated by cofilin give an ADZ that may play a role in invasive hyphal tip growth; possibly through a reduction of tip resistance; thus enabling the provision of a greater protrusive force by turgor.