Evidence for tryptophan being a signal molecule that inhibits conidial anastomosis tube fusion during colony initiation in Neurospora crassa.
Mycelial interconnectedness achieved by hyphal fusion has been hypothesized to facilitate the distribution and sharing of nutrients between different parts of a mycelium, especially when nutrients are heterogeneously distributed in the environment. However, the link between environmental nutrient availability and hyphal fusion is little understood. Here, we report that amino acids and extracellular pH regulate conidial anastomosis tube (CAT) fusion during colony initiation in Neurospora crassa. Quantitative analyses revealed that low extracellular pH and certain amino acids, particularly tryptophan, inhibit CAT fusion. Conidial germination was also inhibited by tryptophan but this inhibition was mitigated by the presence of other amino acids. This provides evidence for tryptophan having a role as a signal molecule that regulates CAT fusion. Tryptophan acts intracellularly because two amino acid permease mutants (Δmtr and Δaap-20) exhibited resistance against tryptophan-mediated inhibition of CAT fusion. Tryptophan and low pH did not significantly affect vegetative hyphal fusion in mature colonies, indicating that the latter is regulated in a different manner to CAT fusion. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.