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Eukaryot Cell. 2009 November; 8(11): 1615.
PMCID: PMC2772412

Article of Significant Interest Selected from This Issue by the Editors

Breaking Down the Walls: an Essential Step for Sexual but Not Asexual Reproduction of Cryptococcus neoformans

Different, divergent fungi have distinct mechanisms to accomplish similar functions. Studies with the model ascomycetous budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae have suggested that lateral cell wall chitin, an insoluble rigid polymer, is hydrolyzed during bud separation using chitinases. The divergent basidiomycete human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans also grows as a budding yeast. By using a panel of chitinase deletion strains, Baker et al. (p. 1692-1705) determined that two out of four predicted endochitinases and one predicted hexosaminidase were active during, but not required for, budding growth; deletion of all four predicted endochitinases had no effect on budding cells during asexual mitotic growth. However, deletion of the four endochitinases prevented development of mating structures. Genetic analysis showed any one of three endochitinases were sufficient for mating and spore production in C. neoformans. Taken together, these findings reveal an unanticipated role for enzymatic remodeling of the cell wall during sexual reproduction leading to the production of infectious spores.

Articles from Eukaryotic Cell are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)