Defining individual size in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa

Linda Ma, Boya Song, Thomas Curran, Nhu Phong, Emilie Dressaire, Marcus Roper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It is challenging to apply the tenets of individuality to filamentous fungi: a fungal mycelium can contain millions of genetically diverse but totipotent nuclei, each capable of founding new mycelia. Moreover, a single mycelium can potentially stretch over kilometres, and it is unlikely that its distant parts share resources or have the same fitness. Here, we directly measure how a single mycelium of the model ascomycete Neurospora crassa is patterned into reproductive units (RUs), meaning subpopulations of nuclei that propagate together as spores, and function as reproductive individuals. The density of RUs is sensitive to the geometry of growth; we detected 50-fold smaller RUs when mycelia had expanding frontiers than when they were constrained to grow in one direction only. RUs fragmented further when the mycelial network was perturbed. In mycelia with expanding frontiers, RU composition was strongly influenced by the distribution of genotypes early in development. Our results provide a concept of fungal individuality that is directly connected to reproductive potential, and therefore to theories of how fungal individuals adapt and evolve over time. Our data show that the size of reproductive individuals is a dynamic and environment-dependent property, even within apparently totally connected fungal mycelia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20152470
Number of pages1
JournalProceedings. Biological sciences
Volume283
Issue number1826
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 16 2016

Fingerprint

Neurospora crassa
reproductive potential
Mycelium
Fungi
subpopulation
mycelium
spore
genotype
fitness
fungus
fold
geometry
fungi
Geometry
resource
Chemical analysis
Individuality
Ascomycota
distribution
Direction compound

Keywords

  • chimaerism
  • fungal biology
  • individuality
  • unit of selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Ma, L., Song, B., Curran, T., Phong, N., Dressaire, E., & Roper, M. (2016). Defining individual size in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Proceedings. Biological sciences, 283(1826), 20152470. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.2470

Defining individual size in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. / Ma, Linda; Song, Boya; Curran, Thomas; Phong, Nhu; Dressaire, Emilie; Roper, Marcus.

In: Proceedings. Biological sciences, Vol. 283, No. 1826, 16.03.2016, p. 20152470.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ma, L, Song, B, Curran, T, Phong, N, Dressaire, E & Roper, M 2016, 'Defining individual size in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa', Proceedings. Biological sciences, vol. 283, no. 1826, pp. 20152470. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.2470
Ma, Linda ; Song, Boya ; Curran, Thomas ; Phong, Nhu ; Dressaire, Emilie ; Roper, Marcus. / Defining individual size in the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. In: Proceedings. Biological sciences. 2016 ; Vol. 283, No. 1826. pp. 20152470.
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