Cell wall stress induces alternative fungal cytokinesis and septation strategies

Louise Walker, Megan D Lenardon, Kanya Preechasuth, Carol A Munro, Neil A R Gow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
9 Downloads (Pure)


In fungi, as with all walled organisms, cytokinesis followed by septation marks the end of the cell cycle and is essential for cell division and viability. For yeasts, the septal cross-wall comprises a ring and primary septal plate composed of chitin, and a secondary septum thickened with ß(1,3)-glucan. In the human pathogen Candida albicans, chitin synthase enzyme Chs1 builds the primary septum that is surrounded by a chitin ring made by Chs3. Here we show that the lethal phenotype induced by repression of CHS1 was abrogated by stress-induced synthesis of alternative and novel septal types synthesized by other chitin synthase enzymes that have never before been implicated in septation. Chs2 and Chs8 formed a functional salvage septum, even in the absence of both Chs1 and Chs3. A second type of salvage septum formed by Chs2 in combination with Chs3 or Chs8 was proximally offset in the mother-bud neck. Chs3 alone or in combination with Chs8 formed a greatly thickened third type of salvage septum. Therefore, cell wall stress induced alternative forms of septation that rescued cell division in the absence of Chs1, demonstrating that fungi have previously unsuspected redundant strategies to enable septation and cell division to be maintained, even under potentially lethal environmental conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2668-2677
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number12
Early online date19 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2013


  • chitin
  • cytokinesis
  • fungal cell wall
  • septum
  • signal transduction
  • stress response


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