Identification and characterization of Aspergillus nidulans mutants defective in cytokinesis

S. D. Harris, J. L. Morrell, J. E. Hamer

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275 Scopus citations


Filamentous fungi undergo cytokinesis by forming crosswalls termed septa. Here, we describe the genetic and physiological controls governing septation in Aspergillus nidulans. Germinating conidia do not form septa until the completion of their third nuclear division. The first septum is invariantly positioned at the basal end of the germ tube. Block-and-release experiments of nuclear division with benomyl or hydroxyurea, and analysis of various nuclear division mutants demonstrated that septum formation is dependent upon the third mitotic division. Block-and-release experiments with cytochalasin A and the localization of actin in germlings by indirect immunofluorescence showed that actin participated in septum formation. In addition to being concentrated at the growing hyphal tips, a band of actin was also apparent at the site of septum formation. Previous genetic analysis in A. nidulans identified four genes involved in septation (sepA-D). We have screened a new collection of temperature sensitive (ts) mutants of A. nidulans for strains that failed to form septa at the restrictive temperature but were able to complete early nuclear divisions. We identified five new genes designated sepE, G, H, I and J, along with one additional allele of a previously identified septation gene. On the basis of temperature shift experiments, nuclear counts and cell morphology, we sorted these cytokines mutants into three phenotypic classes. Interestingly, one class of mutants fails to form septa and fails to progress past the third nuclear division. This class of mutants suggests the existence of a regulatory mechanism in A. nidulans that ensures the continuation of nuclear division following the initiation of cytokinesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-532
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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