SO, a protein involved in hyphal fusion in Neurospora crassa, localizes to septal plugs

Eukaryot Cell. 2007 Jan;6(1):84-94. doi: 10.1128/EC.00268-06. Epub 2006 Nov 10.


The colony of a filamentous ascomycete fungus typically grows as a multinucleate syncytium. While this syncytial organization has developmental advantages, it bears the risk of extensive damage caused by local injury of hyphae. Loss of cytoplasm in injured hyphae is restricted by the fast and efficient sealing of the central pores of hyphal crosswalls, or septa, by a peroxisome-derived organelle called the Woronin body. The formation of septal plugs is also associated with development and leads to separation of certain parts of the colony. Septal plugs associated with developmental processes or aging hyphae typically occur by the accumulation of sealing material. Here we report that in Neurospora crassa, a protein necessary for hyphal fusion and proper colony development called SO (SOFT) localizes to septal plugs. In response to injury, SO accumulates at the septal plug in a Woronin body-independent manner. However, the presence of the Woronin body affects the speed of accumulation of SO at the septal pore. We determined that SO contributes to, but is not essential for, septal plugging. SO accumulation was also observed at septal plugs formed during hyphal aging and during programmed cell death mediated by genetic differences at heterokaryon incompatibility (het) loci.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases / genetics
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungal Proteins / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hyphae / physiology*
  • Neurospora crassa / growth & development
  • Neurospora crassa / metabolism*
  • Neurospora crassa / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Septum of Brain / metabolism*


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Woronin body major protein, Neurospora crassa
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Exodeoxyribonucleases