How musroom forming fungi see the light
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Many organisms depend on, or react to, light. For instance, light is an energy source, directs growth and induces developmental processes. Much is unknown about the role of light and the underlying molecular processes in fungi in general and in mushroom forming fungi in particular. Recently, we demonstrated that mushrooms are formed in a ring in a colony of Schizophyllum commune when exposed to 200 lux white light, while mushrooms are formed all over the mycelium when exposed to 1200 lux. We also showed that red light sensitizes the mycelium of S. commune for blue light, which is known to induce mushroom formation in this model fungus. In this project, the mechanisms underlying light perception will be studied in S. commune as well as heterogeneity in light receptiveness in zones and individual hyphae within the colony. We will identify the different light receptors, study their interactions and their effect on gene expression. Light receptiveness will be studied by exposure of selected parts or individual hyphae whilst monitoring consequences in gene expression and formation of mushrooms. These studies should also reveal how many hyphae should be exposed to induce mushroom formation. This project will make use of innovative technologies including single cell transcriptomics. Recently, we were the first to perform single cell transcriptomics in a microbe. The results of this research will unravel the complexity of a fungal colony and will improve our understanding of the formation of mushrooms in nature and in commercial growth facilities.