Loss of growth polarity and mislocalization of septa in a Neurospora mutant altered in the regulatory subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase.
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In filamentous fungi, growth polarity (i.e. hyphal extension) and formation of septa require polarized deposition of new cell wall material. To explore this process, we analyzed a conditional Neurospora crassa mutant, mcb, which showed a complete loss of growth polarity when incubated at the restrictive temperature. Cloning and DNA sequence analysis of the mcb gene revealed that it encodes a regulatory subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Unexpectedly, the mcb mutant still formed septa when grown at the restrictive temperature, indicating that polarized deposition of wall material during septation is a process that is, at least in part, independent of polarized deposition during hyphal tip extension. However, septa formed in the mcb mutant growing at the restrictive temperature are mislocalized. Both polarized growth and septation are actin-dependent processes, and a concentration of actin patches is observed at growing hyphal tips and sites where septa are being formed. In the mcb mutant growing at the restrictive temperature, actin patches are uniformly distributed over the cell cortex; however, actin patches are still concentrated at sites of septation. Our results suggest that the PKA pathway regulates hyphal growth polarity, possibly through organizing actin patches at the cell cortex.