Polarized growth in fungi--interplay between the cytoskeleton, positional markers and membrane domains

Mol Microbiol. 2008 May;68(4):813-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06193.x. Epub 2008 Apr 8.


One kind of the most extremely polarized cells in nature are the indefinitely growing hyphae of filamentous fungi. A continuous flow of secretion vesicles from the hyphal cell body to the growing hyphal tip is essential for cell wall and membrane extension. Because microtubules (MT) and actin, together with their corresponding motor proteins, are involved in the process, the arrangement of the cytoskeleton is a crucial step to establish and maintain polarity. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe, actin-mediated vesicle transportation is sufficient for polar cell extension, but in S. pombe, MTs are in addition required for the establishment of polarity. The MT cytoskeleton delivers the so-called cell-end marker proteins to the cell pole, which in turn polarize the actin cytoskeleton. Latest results suggest that this scenario may principally be conserved from S. pombe to filamentous fungi. In addition, in filamentous fungi, MTs could provide the tracks for long-distance vesicle movement. In this review, we will compare the interaction of the MT and the actin cytoskeleton and their relation to the cortex between yeasts and filamentous fungi. In addition, we will discuss the role of sterol-rich membrane domains in combination with cell-end marker proteins for polarity establishment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / growth & development*
  • Aspergillus nidulans / metabolism
  • Cell Polarity*
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / growth & development*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Schizosaccharomyces / growth & development*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Fungal Proteins