SUMMARY: The somatic incompatibility reaction occurring at sites of fusion between hyphae of genetically different secondary mycelia of has been examined using combined light and electron microscopy. Hyphal compartments affected by incompatibility rapidly showed increased vacuolation and the development of autophagic bodies throughout the cytoplasm. Dense osmiophilic spherical bodies that developed within the vacuole lumen characterized the early and highly regulated phase of the reaction. Eventually, as expansion of the vacuolar system proceeded, more widespread degeneration began in the remaining cytoplasm, nuclei and mitochondria. The large microtubule bundles present within this species showed variable behaviour during degeneration of the cell compartments, either breaking down early on in the process or persisting intact during breakdown of the other cell components. The incompatibility finally caused extensive disruption and death of the compartments engaged in fusion and often contiguous cells. Plugging of dolipore septa apparently restricted spread of the incompatibility response along the fused hyphae.


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