In order to produce multicellular structures filamentous fungi combine various morphogenetic programs that are fundamentally different from those used by plants and animals. The perithecium, the female sexual fruitbody of Neurospora crassa, differentiates from the vegetative mycelium in distinct morphological stages, and represents one of the more complex multicellular structures produced by fungi. In this study we defined the stages of protoperithecial morphogenesis in the N. crassa wild type in greater detail than has previously been described; compared protoperithecial morphogenesis in gene-deletion mutants of all nine mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases conserved in N. crassa; confirmed that all three MAP kinase cascades are required for sexual development; and showed that the three different cascades each have distinctly different functions during this process. However, only MAP kinases equivalent to the budding yeast pheromone response and cell wall integrity pathways, but not the osmoregulatory pathway, were essential for vegetative cell fusion. Evidence was obtained for MAP kinase signaling cascades performing roles in extracellular matrix deposition, hyphal adhesion, and envelopment during the construction of fertilizable protoperithecia.
Lichius, A., Lord, K. M., Jeffree, C. E., Oborny, R., Boonyarungsrit, P., & Read, N. D. (2012). Importance of MAP kinases during protoperithecial morphogenesis in Neurospora crassa. PLoS ONE, 7(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0042565