Cell Fusion in the Filamentous Fungus, Neurospora Crassa

Methods Mol Biol. 2008;475:21-38. doi: 10.1007/978-1-59745-250-2_2.


Hyphal fusion occurs at different stages in the vegetative and sexual life cycle of filamentous fungi. Similar to cell fusion in other organisms, the process of hyphal fusion requires cell recognition, adhesion, and membrane merger. Analysis of the hyphal fusion process in the model organism Neurospora crassa using fluorescence and live cell imaging as well as cell and molecular biological techniques has begun to reveal its complex cellular regulation. Several genes required for hyphal fusion have been identified in recent years. While some of these genes are conserved in other eukaryotic species, other genes encode fungal-specific proteins. Analysis of fusion mutants in N. crassa has revealed that genes previously identified as having nonfusion-related functions in other systems have novel hyphal fusion functions in N. crassa. Understanding the molecular basis of cell fusion in filamentous fungi provides a paradigm for cell communication and fusion in eukaryotic organisms. Furthermore, the physiological and developmental roles of hyphal fusion are not understood in these organisms; identifying these mechanisms will provide insight into environmental adaptation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Hyphae / cytology
  • Membrane Fusion*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neurospora crassa / cytology*
  • Neurospora crassa / genetics
  • Reproduction