, Volume 191, Issue 1–2, pp 105–114 | Cite as

Growth and morphogenesis inSaprolegnia ferax: Is turgor required?

  • Ruth L. Harold
  • N. P. Money
  • F. M. Harold


The oomyceteSaprolegnia ferax, unlike most walled organisms, does not regulate turgor. When hyphae were subjected to water stress by the addition of sucrose or other solutes to the growth medium, turgor pressure diminished progressively; yet the hyphae continued to extend with deposition of a more plastic apical wall. Even when turgor was no longer measurable with a micropipet-based pressure probe (0.02 MPa or less, compared with 0.4 MPa in unsupplemented medium) they produced regular hyphal tubes and tips. Such “turgorless” hyphae extended as rapidly, or more rapidly, than normal ones, but they were wider and their tips blunter. Despite the loss of turgor, hyphae put forth branches and cysts germinated. The organization of actin microfilaments was essentially normal, and the response to cytochalasin A was similar in turgorless and standard hyphae. However, as turgor diminished the hyphae's capacity to penetrate solid media was progressively impaired; aerial hyphae were no longer produced, and zoospore formation was inhibited. The results contradict the common belief that turgor supplies the driving force for hyphal extension, tip morphogenesis, and branching. Evidently, these functions do not intrinsically require hydrostatic pressure. Turgorless hyphae are, however, crippled by their inability to exploit solid media.


Turgor Hydrostatic pressure Apical growth Tip growth Saprolegnia ferax 



polyethylene glycol-300


rhodamine phalloidin


filamentous actin


dimethyl sulfoxide


peptone, yeast extract, glucose




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ruth L. Harold
    • 1
  • N. P. Money
    • 2
  • F. M. Harold
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyMiami UniversityOxford

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