Polarity in filamentous fungi: moving beyond the yeast paradigm

Fungal Genet Biol. 2004 Apr;41(4):391-400. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2003.11.007.


Filamentous fungi grow by the polar extension of hyphae. This polar growth requires the specification of sites of germ tube or branch emergence, followed by the recruitment of the morphogenetic machinery to those sites for localized cell wall deposition. Researchers attempting to understand hyphal morphogenesis have relied upon the powerful paradigm of bud emergence in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The yeast paradigm has provided a useful framework, however several features of hyphal morphogenesis, such as the ability to maintain multiple axes of polarity and an extremely rapid extension rate, cannot be explained by simple extrapolation from yeast models. We discuss recent polarity research from filamentous fungi focusing on the position of germ tube emergence, the relaying of positional information via RhoGTPase modules, and the recruitment of morphogenetic machinery components including cytoskeleton, polarisome and ARP2/3 complexes, and the vesicle trafficking system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Polarity
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology
  • Fungi / growth & development*
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Hyphae / growth & development
  • Morphogenesis


  • Fungal Proteins