96 research outputs found

    Growth-induced mass flows in fungal networks

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    Cord-forming fungi form extensive networks that continuously adapt to maintain an efficient transport system. As osmotically driven water uptake is often distal from the tips, and aqueous fluids are incompressible, we propose that growth induces mass flows across the mycelium, whether or not there are intrahyphal concentration gradients. We imaged the temporal evolution of networks formed by Phanerochaete velutina, and at each stage calculated the unique set of currents that account for the observed changes in cord volume, while minimising the work required to overcome viscous drag. Predicted speeds were in reasonable agreement with experimental data, and the pressure gradients needed to produce these flows are small. Furthermore, cords that were predicted to carry fast-moving or large currents were significantly more likely to increase in size than cords with slow-moving or small currents. The incompressibility of the fluids within fungi means there is a rapid global response to local fluid movements. Hence velocity of fluid flow is a local signal that conveys quasi-global information about the role of a cord within the mycelium. We suggest that fluid incompressibility and the coupling of growth and mass flow are critical physical features that enable the development of efficient, adaptive, biological transport networks.Comment: To be published in PRSB. 20 pages, plus 8 pages of supplementary information, and 3 page bibliograph

    Robust anti-oxidant defences in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae confer tolerance to the host oxidative burst

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    •Plants respond to pathogen attack via a rapid burst of reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, ROS are also produced by fungal metabolism and are required for the development of infection structures in Magnaporthe oryzae. •To obtain a better understanding of redox regulation in M. oryzae, we measured the amount and redox potential of glutathione (EGSH), as the major cytoplasmic anti-oxidant, the rates of ROS production, and mitochondrial activity using multi-channel four-dimensional (x,y,z,t) confocal imaging of Grx1-roGFP2 and fluorescent reporters during spore germination, appressorium formation and infection. •High levels of mitochondrial activity and ROS were localized to the growing germ tube and appressorium, but EGSH was highly reduced and tightly regulated during development. Furthermore, germlings were extremely resistant to external H2O2 exposure ex planta. EGSH remained highly reduced during successful infection of the susceptible rice cultivar CO39. By contrast, there was a dramatic reduction in the infection of resistant (IR68) rice, but the sparse hyphae that did form also maintained a similar reduced EGSH. •We conclude that M. oryzae has a robust anti-oxidant defence system and maintains tight control of EGSH despite substantial oxidative challenge. Furthermore, the magnitude of the host oxidative burst alone does not stress the pathogen sufficiently to prevent infection in this pathosystem.BBSR

    New approaches to investigating the function of mycelial networks

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    Fungi play a key role in ecosystem nutrient cycles by scavenging, concentrating, translocating and redistributing nitrogen. To quantify and predict fungal nitrogen redistribution, and assess the importance of the integrity of fungal networks in soil for ecosystem function, we need better understanding of the structures and processes involved. Until recently nitrogen translocation has been experimentally intractable owing to the lack of a suitable radioisotope tracer for nitrogen, and the impossibility of observing nitrogen translocation in real time under realistic conditions. We have developed an imaging method for recording the magnitude and direction of amino acid flow through the whole mycelial network as it captures, assimilates and channels its carbon and nitrogen resources, while growing in realistically heterogeneous soil microcosms. Computer analysis and modeling, based on these digitized video records, can reveal patterns in transport that suggest experimentally testable hypotheses. Experimental approaches that we are developing include genomics and stable isotope NMR to investigate where in the system nitrogen compounds are being acquired and stored, and where they are mobilized for transport or broken down. The results are elucidating the interplay between environment, metabolism, and the development and function of transport networks as mycelium forages in soil. The highly adapted and selected foraging networks of fungi may illuminate fundamental principles applicable to other supply networks

    Network traits predict ecological strategies in fungi

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    Colonization of terrestrial environments by filamentous fungi relies on their ability to form networks that can forage for and connect resource patches. Despite the importance of these networks, ecologists rarely consider network features as functional traits because their measurement and interpretation are conceptually and methodologically difficult. To address these challenges, we have developed a pipeline to translate images of fungal mycelia, from both micro- and macro-scales, to weighted network graphs that capture ecologically relevant fungal behaviour. We focus on four properties that we hypothesize determine how fungi forage for resources, specifically: connectivity; relative construction cost; transport efficiency; and robustness against attack by fungivores. Constrained ordination and Pareto front analysis of these traits revealed that foraging strategies can be distinguished predominantly along a gradient of connectivity for micro- and macro-scale mycelial networks that is reminiscent of the qualitative ‘phalanx’ and ‘guerilla’ descriptors previously proposed in the literature. At one extreme are species with many inter-connections that increase the paths for multidirectional transport and robustness to damage, but with a high construction cost; at the other extreme are species with an opposite phenotype. Thus, we propose this approach represents a significant advance in quantifying ecological strategies for fungi using network information

    Automated analysis of Physarum network structure and dynamics

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    We evaluate different ridge-enhancement and segmentation methods to automatically extract the network architecture from time-series of Physarum plasmodia withdrawing from an arena via a single exit. Whilst all methods gave reasonable results, judged by precision-recall analysis against a ground-truth skeleton, the mean phase angle (Feature Type) from intensity-independent, phase-congruency edge enhancement and watershed segmentation was the most robust to variation in threshold parameters. The resultant single pixel-wide segmented skeleton was converted to a graph representation as a set of weighted adjacency matrices containing the physical dimensions of each vein, and the inter-vein regions. We encapsulate the complete image processing and network analysis pipeline in a downloadable software package, and provide an extensive set of metrics that characterise the network structure, including hierarchical loop decomposition to analyse the nested structure of the developing network. In addition, the change in volume for each vein and intervening plasmodial sheet was used to predict the net flow across the network. The scaling relationships between predicted current, speed and shear force with vein radius were consistent with predictions from Murray's law. This work was presented at PhysNet 2015

    Advection, diffusion and delivery over a network

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    Many biological, geophysical and technological systems involve the transport of resource over a network. In this paper we present an algorithm for calculating the exact concentration of resource at any point in space or time, given that the resource in the network is lost or delivered out of the network at a given rate, while being subject to advection and diffusion. We consider the implications of advection, diffusion and delivery for simple models of glucose delivery through a vascular network, and conclude that in certain circumstances, increasing the volume of blood and the number of glucose transporters can actually decrease the total rate of glucose delivery. We also consider the case of empirically determined fungal networks, and analyze the distribution of resource that emerges as such networks grow over time. Fungal growth involves the expansion of fluid filled vessels, which necessarily involves the movement of fluid. In three empirically determined fungal networks we found that the minimum currents consistent with the observed growth would effectively transport resource throughout the network over the time-scale of growth. This suggests that in foraging fungi, the active transport mechanisms observed in the growing tips may not be required for long range transport.Comment: 54 pages including appendix, 10 figure

    Cisternal Organization of the Endoplasmic Reticulum during Mitosis

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    The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of animal cells is a single, dynamic, and continuous membrane network of interconnected cisternae and tubules spread out throughout the cytosol in direct contact with the nuclear envelope. During mitosis, the nuclear envelope undergoes a major rearrangement, as it rapidly partitions its membrane-bound contents into the ER. It is therefore of great interest to determine whether any major transformation in the architecture of the ER also occurs during cell division. We present structural evidence, from rapid, live-cell, three-dimensional imaging with confirmation from high-resolution electron microscopy tomography of samples preserved by high-pressure freezing and freeze substitution, unambiguously showing that from prometaphase to telophase of mammalian cells, most of the ER is organized as extended cisternae, with a very small fraction remaining organized as tubules. In contrast, during interphase, the ER displays the familiar reticular network of convolved cisternae linked to tubules
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