Force and compliance: rethinking morphogenesis in walled cells

Fungal Genet Biol. 2002 Dec;37(3):271-82. doi: 10.1016/s1087-1845(02)00528-5.


In the turgid cells of plants, protists, fungi, and bacteria, walls resist swelling; they also confer shape on the cell. These two functions are not unrelated: cell physiologists have generally agreed that morphogenesis turns on the deformation of existing wall and the deposition of new wall, while turgor pressure produces the work of expansion. In 1990, I summed up consensus in a phrase: "localized compliance with the global force of turgor pressure." My purpose here is to survey the impact of recent discoveries on the traditional conceptual framework. Topics include the recognition of a cytoskeleton in bacteria; the tide of information and insight about budding in yeast; the role of the Spitzenkörper in hyphal extension; calcium ions and actin dynamics in shaping a tip; and the interplay of protons, expansins and cellulose fibrils in cells of higher plants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / cytology
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Wall / physiology*
  • Fungi / cytology
  • Fungi / growth & development*
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Plant Cells
  • Plant Development*