Polarized Growth of Fungal Hyphae Is Defined by an Alkaline pH Gradient

Fungal Genet Biol. 1996 Dec;20(4):289-98. doi: 10.1006/fgbi.1996.0043.


Robson, G. D., Prebble, E., Rickers, A., Hosking, S., Denning, D. W., Trinci, A. P. J., and Robertson, W. 1996. Polarized growth of fungal hyphae is defined by an alkaline pH gradient. Fungal Genetics and Biology 20, 289-298. Polarized cell growth is exhibited by a diverse range of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. The events which are responsible for this growth are poorly understood. However, the existence of ion gradients may play an important role in establishing and driving cell polarity. Using a pH-sensitive, ratiometric fluorescent dye to monitor intracellular pH in growing fungal hyphae, we report a gradient at the extending hyphal tip that is up to 1.4 pH units more alkaline than more distal regions. Both the magnitude and the length of the pH gradient were strongly correlated with the rate of hyphal extension and eradication of the gradient-arrested growth. These results suggest that alkaline pH gradients may be integral to hyphal extension in fungi.