Conserved components, but distinct mechanisms for the placement and assembly of the cell division machinery in unicellular and filamentous ascomycetes
Cytokinesis is essential for cell proliferation, yet its molecular description is challenging, because > 100 conserved proteins must be spatially and temporally co-ordinated. Despite the high importance of a tight co-ordination of cytokinesis with chromosome and organelle segregation, the mechanism for determining the cell division plane is one of the least conserved aspects of cytokinesis in eukaryotic cells. Budding and fission yeast have developed fundamentally distinct mechanisms to ensure proper nuclear segregation. The extent to which these pathways are conserved in multicellular fungi remains unknown. Recent progress indicates common components, but different mechanisms that are required for proper selection of the septation site in the different groups of Ascomycota. Cortical cues are used in yeast- and filament-forming species of the Saccharomycotina clade that are established at the incipient bud site or the hyphal tip respectively. In contrast, septum formation in the filament-forming Pezizomycotina species Aspergillus nidulans and Neurospora crassa seems more closely related to the fission yeast programme in that they may combine mitotic signals with a cell end-based marker system and Rho GTPase signalling. Thus, significant differences in the use and connection of conserved signalling modules become apparent that reflect the phylogenetic relationship of the analysed models.