Yeasts and mycelia of the pathogen Candida albicans grown in the presence of polyoxin D, a competitive inhibitor of chitin synthase, formed chains of swollen bulbous cells as observed by fluorescence microscopy. Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) complexed to colloidal gold (Au) was used as a specific label at the ultrastructural level to visualize chitin in walls of control and polyoxin-treated cells. In control cells, Au-WGA labelling was preferentially localized in the innermost wall layers and was predominant at bud scars and septa. After 4.5 h in 4 mM-polyoxin D, budding in yeasts and lateral wall growth in mycelia continued, but primary septa failed to form and no Au-WGA labelling was detected in the walls. These results demonstrated that the morphological alterations caused by polyoxin D were due to the absence of chitin, a wall component important for formation of primary septa and for maintenance of structural integrity during morphogenesis.