Gravitropism of basidiomycetous fungi--on Earth and in microgravity

Adv Space Res. 1999;24(6):697-706. doi: 10.1016/s0273-1177(99)00401-9.


In order to achieve perfect positioning of their lamellae for spore dispersal, fruiting bodies of higher fungi rely on the omnipresent force gravity. Only accurate negatively gravitropic orientation of the fruiting body cap will guarantee successful reproduction. A spaceflight experiment during the STS-55 Spacelab mission in 1993 confirmed that the factor gravity is employed for spatial orientation. Most likely every hypha in the transition zone between the stipe and the cap region is capable of sensing gravity. Sensing presumably involves slight sedimentation of nuclei which subsequently causes deformation of the net-like arrangement of F-actin filament strands. Hyphal elongation is probably driven by hormone-controlled activation and redistribution of vesicle traffic and vesicle incorporation into the vacuoles and cell walls to subsequently cause increased water uptake and turgor pressure. Stipe bending is achieved by way of differential growth of the flanks of the upper-most stipe region. After reorientation to a horizontal position, elongation of the upper flank hyphae decreases 40% while elongation of the lower flank slightly increases. On the cellular level gravity-stimulated vesicle accumulation was observed in hyphae of the lower flank.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Basidiomycota / growth & development*
  • Basidiomycota / ultrastructure
  • Gravitation
  • Gravitropism / physiology*
  • Gravity Sensing / physiology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Space Flight*
  • Weightlessness*