Evolution of modular conidiophore development in the aspergilli

Steven D. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Conidiophores are reproductive structures that enable filamentous fungi to produce and disseminate large numbers of asexual spores. The diversity in conidiophore morphology is sufficiently large to serve as a basis for fungal systematics. Aspergillus and Penicillium species are members of the family Trichocomaceae that form conidiophores with characteristic architecture. Whereas the Penicillium conidiophore appears to be a modified branched hyphal structure, the Aspergillus conidiophore is seemingly more complex and includes additional cell types. Here, it is proposed that the "aspergillioid" conidiophore may have evolved from a "penicillioid" ancestor via changes in expression of key regulators of the cell cycle and the GTPase Cdc42. Because the transcriptional regulatory network that controls conidiophore development in Aspergillus is well characterized, further study of how this network links to regulators of the cell cycle and Cdc42 should provide fundamental insight into the evolution of developmental morphogenesis in fungi (i.e., fungal evo-devo).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2012


  • Aspergillus
  • Cdc42 GTPase module
  • Cell cycle control
  • Conidiophore
  • Penicillium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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