In the absence of landmark proteins, hyphae of Aspergillus nidulans lose their direction of growth and show a zigzag growth pattern. Here, we show that the cell-end marker protein TeaA is important for localizing the growth machinery at hyphal tips. The central position of TeaA at the tip correlated with the convergence of the microtubule (MT) ends to a single point. Conversely, in the absence of TeaA, the MTs often failed to converge to a single point at the cortex. Further analysis suggested a functional connection between TeaA and AlpA (an ortholog of the MT polymerase Dis1/CKAP5/XMAP215) for proper regulation of MT growth at hyphal tips. AlpA localized at MT plus-ends, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays suggested that it interacted with TeaA after MT plus-ends reached the tip cortex. In vitro MT polymerization assays showed that AlpA promoted MT growth up to sevenfold. Addition of the C-terminal region of TeaA increased the catastrophe frequency of the MTs. Thus, the control of the AlpA activity through TeaA might be a novel principle for MT growth regulation after reaching the cortex. In addition, we present evidence that the curvature of hyphal tips also could be involved in the control of MT growth at hyphal tips.
Keywords: AlpA; Aspergillus nidulans; Cell-end marker; Hyphal tip; Microtubule; Polarity; TeaA; XMAP215.