Electrical phenotypes of calcium transport mutant strains of a filamentous fungus, Neurospora crassa

  • Hamam A
  • Lew R
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We characterized the electrical phenotypes of mutants with mutations in genes encoding calcium transporters-a mechanosensitive channel homolog (MscS), a Ca(2+)/H(+) exchange protein (cax), and Ca(2+)-ATPases (nca-1, nca-2, nca-3)-as well as those of double mutants (the nca-2 cax, nca-2 nca-3, and nca-3 cax mutants). The electrical characterization used dual impalements to obtain cable-corrected current-voltage measurements. Only two types of mutants (the MscS mutant; the nca-2 mutant and nca-2-containing double mutants) exhibited lower resting potentials. For the nca-2 mutant, on the basis of unchanged conductance and cyanide-induced depolarization of the potential, the cause is attenuated H(+)-ATPase activity. The growth of the nca-2 mutant-containing strains was inhibited by elevated extracellular Ca(2+) levels, indicative of lesions in Ca(2+) homeostasis. However, the net Ca(2+) effluxes of the nca-2 mutant, measured noninvasively with a self-referencing Ca(2+)-selective microelectrode, were similar to those of the wild type. All of the mutants exhibited osmosensitivity similar to that of the wild type (the turgor of the nca-2 mutant was also similar to that of the wild type), suggesting that Ca(2+) signaling does not play a role in osmoregulation. The hyphal tip morphology and tip-localized mitochondria of the nca-2 mutant were similar to those of the wild type, even when the external [Ca(2+)] was elevated. Thus, although Ca(2+) homeostasis is perturbed in the nca-2 mutant (B. J. Bowman et al., Eukaryot. Cell 10:654-661, 2011), the phenotype does not extend to tip growth or to osmoregulation but is revealed by lower H(+)-ATPase activity.

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  • Ahmed Hamam

  • Roger R. Lew

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