Contact-sensing by hyphae of dermatophytic and saprophytic fungi

J Med Vet Mycol. Jul-Aug 1997;35(4):289-93. doi: 10.1080/02681219780001301.


Contact-sensing or thigmotropism is the directional growth response of cells in relation to topographical guidance cues. Thigmotropism is thought to play a major role in the location of infectable sites on plants by phytopathogenic fungi and has recently been shown to be a property of hyphae in the human pathogenic fungus Candida albicans. Here we show that hyphae of the dermatophytes Epidermophyton floccosum, Microsporum canis and Trichophyton mentagrophytes reorientate their direction of growth in response to grooves and pores of membrane substrata as did hyphae of the saprophytes Mucor mucedo and Neurospora crassa. This suggests that the thigmotropic behaviour of hyphae is not a specific property of pathogens, but rather a general feature of the growth of fungal hyphae that must forage for nutrients on surfaces and within solid materials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthrodermataceae / pathogenicity
  • Arthrodermataceae / physiology*
  • Arthrodermataceae / ultrastructure
  • Epidermophyton / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Microsporum / physiology
  • Mucor / pathogenicity
  • Mucor / physiology*
  • Mucor / ultrastructure
  • Neurospora crassa / pathogenicity
  • Neurospora crassa / physiology*
  • Neurospora crassa / ultrastructure
  • Trichophyton / physiology