Cell Polarity: Endogenous Ion Currents Precede and Predict Branching in the Water Mold Achyla

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Science  24 Jun 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4604, pp. 1385-1387
DOI: 10.1126/science.220.4604.1385


The hyphae of the water mold Achyla bisexualis generate electrical currents that enter the growing tips and leave farther back. An inward-moving current also precedes branching and predicts the site of branch emergence; during the branching process, the current at the original tip declines or even reverses transiently without any change in growth rate. The inward current probably acts as an early signal during branch differentiation. The flow of specific ions rather than the flow of electrical charge probably serves to localize growth.