How does a hypha grow? The biophysics of pressurized growth in fungi

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Jun 6;9(7):509-18. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2591.


The mechanisms underlying the growth of fungal hyphae are rooted in the physical property of cell pressure. Internal hydrostatic pressure (turgor) is one of the major forces driving the localized expansion at the hyphal tip which causes the characteristic filamentous shape of the hypha. Calcium gradients regulate tip growth, and secretory vesicles that contribute to this process are actively transported to the growing tip by molecular motors that move along cytoskeletal structures. Turgor is controlled by an osmotic mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade that causes de novo synthesis of osmolytes and uptake of ions from the external medium. However, as discussed in this Review, turgor and pressure have additional roles in hyphal growth, such as causing the mass flow of cytoplasm from the basal mycelial network towards the expanding hyphal tips at the colony edge.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Cytoplasm / physiology
  • Fungi / growth & development*
  • Fungi / metabolism
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Hyphae / growth & development*
  • Hyphae / metabolism
  • Neurospora crassa / growth & development
  • Neurospora crassa / metabolism
  • Neurospora crassa / physiology
  • Osmotic Pressure