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Mycelial fungi have a growth form which is unique among multicellular organisms. The data presented here suggest that they have developed a unique solution to internal solute translocation involving a complex, extended vacuole. In all filamentous fungi examined, this extended vacuole forms an interconnected network, dynamically linked by tubules, which has been hypothesized to act as an internal distribution system. We have tested this hypothesis directly by quantifying solute movement within the organelle by photobleaching a fluorescent vacuolar marker. Predictive simulation models were then used to determine the transport characteristics over extended length scales. This modeling showed that the vacuolar organelle forms a functionally important, bidirectional diffusive transport pathway over distances of millimeters to centimeters. Flux through the pathway is regulated by the dynamic tubular connections involving homotypic fusion and fission. There is also a strongly predicted interaction among vacuolar organization, predicted diffusion transport distances, and the architecture of the branching colony margin.

Original publication




Journal article


Eukaryot Cell

Publication Date





1111 - 1125


Basidiomycota, Biological Transport, Cell Communication, Cell Compartmentation, Diffusion, Efficiency, Fluoresceins, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Hyphae, Models, Biological, Signal Transduction, Vacuoles