The effects of ropy-1 mutation on cytoplasmic organization and intracellular motility in mature hyphae of Neurospora crassa

Meritxell Riquelme, Robert Roberson, Dennis P. McDaniel, Salomón Bartnicki-García

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73 Scopus citations


We have used light and electron microscopy to document the cytoplasmic effects of the ropy (ro-1) mutation in mature hyphae of Neurospora crassa and to better understand the role(s) of dynein during hyphal tip growth. Based on video-enhanced DIC light microscopy, the mature, growing hyphae of N. crassa wild type could be divided into four regions according to cytoplasmic organization and behavior: the apical region (I) and three subapical regions (II, III, and IV). A well-defined Spitzenkörper dominated the cytoplasm of region I. In region II, vesicles (∼0.48 μm diameter) and mitochondria maintained primarily a constant location within the advancing cytoplasm. This region was typically void of nuclei. Vesicles exhibited anterograde and retrograde motility in regions III and IV and followed generally parallel paths along the longitudinal axis of the cell. A small population of mitochondria displayed rapid anterograde and retrograde movements, while most maintained a constant position in the advancing cytoplasm in regions III and IV. Many nuclei occupied the cytoplasm of regions III and IV. In ro-1 hyphae, discrete cytoplasmic regions were not recognized and the motility and/or positioning of vesicles, mitochondria, and nuclei were altered to varying degrees, relative to the wild type cells. Immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that the microtubule cytoskeleton was severely disrupted in ro-1 cells. Transmission electron microscopy of cryofixed cells confirmed that region I of wild-type hyphae contained a Spitzenkörper composed of an aggregation of small apical vesicles that surrounded entirely or partially a central core composed, in part, of microvesicles embedded in a dense granular to fibrillar matrix. The apex of ro-1 the hypha contained a Spitzenkörper with reduced numbers of apical vesicles but maintained a defined central core. Clearly, dynein deficiency in the mutant caused profound perturbation in microtubule organization and function and, consequently, organelle dynamics and positioning. These perturbations impact negatively on the organization and stability of the Spitzenkörper, which, in turn, led to severe reduction in growth rate and altered hyphal morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Dynein
  • Laser scanning confocal microscopy
  • Microtubules
  • Neurospora crassa
  • Ropy
  • Spitzenkörper
  • Ultrastructure
  • Video-enhanced light microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics


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