Fungal photobiology: visible light as a signal for stress, space and time

Curr Genet. 2015 Aug;61(3):275-88. doi: 10.1007/s00294-014-0451-0. Epub 2014 Oct 17.


Visible light is an important source of energy and information for much of life on this planet. Though fungi are neither photosynthetic nor capable of observing adjacent objects, it is estimated that the majority of fungal species display some form of light response, ranging from developmental decision-making to metabolic reprogramming to pathogenesis. As such, advances in our understanding of fungal photobiology will likely reach the broad fields impacted by these organisms, including agriculture, industry and medicine. In this review, we will first describe the mechanisms by which fungi sense light and then discuss the selective advantages likely imparted by their ability to do so.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryptochromes / chemistry
  • Cryptochromes / metabolism
  • Deoxyribodipyrimidine Photo-Lyase / chemistry
  • Deoxyribodipyrimidine Photo-Lyase / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / chemistry
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fungi / physiology*
  • Light
  • Phototrophic Processes*
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
  • Stress, Physiological


  • Cryptochromes
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Deoxyribodipyrimidine Photo-Lyase