Cellular responses of microcolonial rock fungi to long-term desiccation and subsequent rehydration

A.A. Gorbushina, E.R. Kotlova, O.A. Sherstneva

    Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    Melanised rock-inhabiting fungi are astonishingly resistant to environmental stresses. Also known as micro-colonial fungi (MCF), they are ubiquitous and even colonise bare rocks in deserts. To survive in nutrient poor and extremely stressful conditions, MCF have reduced morphogenetic complexity to a minimum, and rely on a broad spectrum of stress protection mechanisms. Although visual signs of carotenoid presence are masked by heavily melanised black cell-walls, we were able to isolate and characterise a variety of carotenoids ({beta}-carotene, {zeta}-carotene, phytoene, torularhodin and torulene) in the rock-inhabiting, relatively fast-growing strain A95. The desiccation/rehydration stress response was used to measure the ability of A95 to adapt to slow or fast changes in external conditions. Revival of MCF after prolonged desiccation and rehydration was documented by biochemical (analyses of lipids and protective pigments), cultivation, and microscopic methods. Survival of MCF is enhanced when desiccation is rapid and mycostasis is instant rather than following prolonged periods of low metabolic activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-97
    JournalStudies in Mycology
    Volume61
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

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