Cell Biology

Maintaining Cellular Integrity

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Science  07 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5463, pp. 13
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5463.13g

Filamentous fungi contain an unusual organelle, the Woronin body, whose structure and biogenesis have been unclear. Fungal hyphae grow as a syncytium in which cells are joined by septal pores, allowing for free passage of cytoplasm and organelles. If hyphal integrity is breached, the hexagonal Woronin body appears to detach from the interior surface of the cell wall and to occlude the now-exposed septal pore in preparation for subsequent sealing of the cell membrane.

Jedd and Chua isolated the Woronin body from Neurospora crassa and characterized a component protein called Hex1. This protein is present throughout the Woronin body, and when Hex1 was expressed in yeast, structures reminiscent of Woronin bodies were observed. Mutant Neurospora lacking Hex1 bled cytosol from cut hyphae, indicating the importance of this protein for assembly of a nanopatch.—SMH

Nature Cell Biol.2, 226 (2000).

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