Dual roles for calcium ions in apical growth of Neurospora crassa

J Gen Microbiol. 1988 Sep;134(9):2623-31. doi: 10.1099/00221287-134-9-2623.


We report initial attempts to define the role of Ca2+ in the polarized extension of Neurospora crassa. Growth of the organism was diminished in media containing less than 1 mM-Ca2+; extension was more severely impaired than biomass synthesis, resulting in the formation of stubby, bulbous hyphae, even of spherical cells. Reduced extension and abnormal morphology were correlated with the loss of surface-bound Ca2+, probably associated with the cell wall. Intracellular Ca2+ may be represented by material that fluoresces brightly in the presence of chlortetracycline. Punctate fluorescent bodies and diffuse fluorescence were both arrayed in a longitudinal gradient, maximum apically. Addition of the calcium ionophore A23187 induced dissipation of the fluorescence; concurrently, the hyphae lost as much as one half of their Ca2+ content. Extension continued almost unabated, but multiple branches quickly emerged from the apex. The observations suggest that a cytoplasmic Ca2+ gradient is not required for polarized extension, but may play a role in ensuring the dominance of the apex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Calcimycin / pharmacology
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Fluorescence
  • Neurospora / growth & development*
  • Neurospora crassa / drug effects
  • Neurospora crassa / growth & development*
  • Neurospora crassa / metabolism


  • Calcimycin
  • Calcium