Motors in fungal morphogenesis: cooperation versus competition

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Dec;14(6):660-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2011.09.013. Epub 2011 Oct 24.


Fungal tip growth underlies substrate invasion and is essential for fungal virulence. It requires the activity of molecular motors that deliver secretory vesicles to the growth region or which mediate bi-directional motility of early endosomes. Visualizing motors and their cargo in living fungal cells revealed unexpected cooperation between motors in membrane trafficking: (1) Class V chitin synthase, which has a class 17 myosin motor domain, moves bi-directionally, with myosin-5 and kinesin-1 cooperating in delivery to the growth region, and dynein taking it back to the cell centre. The myosin-17 motor domain competes with dynein by tethering the chitin synthase to the plasma membrane before exocytosis; (2) Long-range endosome motility is based on a cooperation of kinesin-3 and dynein, but towards the microtubule plus-end dynein competes with kinesin-3 to prevent the organelles from 'falling off the track'. These results reveal a fine-balanced network of cooperative and competitive motor activity, required for fungal morphogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungi / cytology*
  • Fungi / growth & development
  • Fungi / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Transport
  • Secretory Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins