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During growth, filamentous fungi produce polarized cells called hyphae. It is generally presumed that polarization of hyphae is dependent upon secretion through the Spitzenkörper, as well as a mechanism called apical recycling, which maintains a balance between the tightly coupled processes of endocytosis and exocytosis. Endocytosis predominates in an annular domain called the sub-apical endocytic collar, which is located in the region of plasma membrane 1-5 μm distal to the Spitzenkörper. It has previously been proposed that one function of the sub-apical endocytic collar is to maintain the apical localization of polarization proteins. These proteins mark areas of polarization at the apices of hyphae. However, as hyphae grow, these proteins are displaced along the membrane and some must then be removed at the sub-apical endocytic collar in order to maintain the hyphoid shape. While endocytosis is fairly well characterized in yeast, comparatively little is known about the process in filamentous fungi. Here, a bioinformatics approach was utilized to identify 39 Aspergillus nidulans proteins that are predicted to be cargo of endocytosis based on the presence of an NPFxD peptide motif. This motif is a necessary endocytic signal sequence first established in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, where it marks proteins for endocytosis through an interaction with the adapter protein Sla1p. It is hypothesized that some proteins that contain this NPFxD peptide sequence in A. nidulans will be potential targets for endocytosis, and therefore will localize either to the endocytic collar or to more proximal polarized regions of the cell, e.g. the apical dome or the Spitzenkörper. To test this, a subset of the motif-containing proteins in A. nidulans was tagged with GFP and the dynamic localization was evaluated. The documented localization patterns support the hypothesis that the motif marks proteins for localization to the polarized cell apex in growing hyphae. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Blake Commer, Zachary Schultzhaus, Brian D Shaw. Localization of NPFxD motif-containing proteins in Aspergillus nidulans. Fungal genetics and biology : FG & B. 2020 Aug;141:103412

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PMID: 32445863

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