Chytrids are widespread, single-cell, microscopic fungi that are important parasites of other organisms and degraders of complex organic matter in aquatic ecosystems. They attach to substrates and feed using filamentous outgrowths called rhizoids. In this study, we show that chytrid rhizoids are remarkably similar to hyphae in multi-cellular fungi, suggesting a linked evolutionary origin. We also show that chytrid rhizoids are highly adaptative, able to change shape in response to variation in substrate availability. Together, our study sheds new light on fungal evolution and the biology of chytrids.
MBA Senior Research Fellow Michael Cunliffe said, “This outstanding research from Davis Laundon’s PhD utilises the world-class microscope facilities at the MBA to explore the cell biology of the early-diverging model chytrid fungus Rhizoclosmatium globosum”.
Watch a video of a chytrid fungus growing on a particle.
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