SUMMARY: Hyphae of growing on lean media orient their extension towards a source of amino acids, and also put forth branches. Micropipettes were used to generate gradients of amino acids in the vicinity of individual hyphae. Phenylalanine and methionine were the most powerful attractants: 0·04 mM amino acid in the pipette produced reorientation, and higher concentrations made the hyphae curl around the pipette and grow into its tip. Hyphae detected gradients as low as 5% across their width. Methionine and phenylalanine appeared to bind to different receptors. Local application of these amino acids also elicited the emergence of single branches, next to the pipette and on the high side of the gradient; comparison of diverse amino acids and their analogues suggested that branching and chemotropism share common receptors. By contrast, cytochalasin A and various ionophores induced branches at random sites, without receptor involvement. We propose that binding of amino acids to their receptors determines the site of precursor vesicle exocytosis, and consider possible mechanisms.


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