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CHAPTER 29

THE KINGDOM
FUNGI

Prepared by
Brenda Leady, University of Toledo

1 reprod
Copyright (c) The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Permission required for
 Fungi are closely related to animals
 Both heterotrophic – cannot produce their own
food
 Both use absorptive nutrition – secrete
enzymes and absorb resulting small organic
molecules
 Both store surplus food as the carbohydrate
glycogen

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Unique cell-wall chemistry
 Fungal cells enclosed by tough cell walls
composed of chitin
 Cannot engulf food by phagotrophy due to
rigid cell walls
 Cell wall also restricts mobility of
nonflagellate cells

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Unique body form
 Most have mycelia composed of hyphae
 Most of the mycelium is diffused and
inconspicuous
 Fruiting bodies are the visible reproductive
structures
 Mushrooms are one type
 Produce spores
 Rhizomorphs are fungal mycelia with the shape
of roots to transport water

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Distinctive growth processes
 Mycelia can grow quickly when food is
plentiful
 Grow at the edges
 Narrow dimensions and extensive
branching provides high surface area for
absorption
 Osmosis important in growth- entry of
water produces force for tip extension
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 Septate fungi
 Septa - Cross walls dividing cells of mycelium
 Each cell has 1 or 2 nuclei
 Nuclear division followed by cross-wall
formation
 Aseptate fungi
 Not partitioned into smaller cells
 Multinucleate
 Nuclei divide without cytokinesis

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 Intranuclear spindle distinguishes fungal nuclear
division from plants and animals
 Spindleforms inside nucleus and nuclear envelope
does not break down
 Natural mycelium may be irregular in shape
 Inliquid culture it is spherical
 On agar it is more 2 dimensional

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Sexual reproduction
 Involves mating of
gametes, zygote
formation and meiosis
 Most gametes
inconspicuous fungal
branches
 Fuse with compatible
mating type

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 Most sexual organisms
have plasmogamy (fusion
of gametes’ cytoplasm)
followed by karyogamy
(fusion of gametes’
nuclei)
 In fungi, after
plasmogamy, nuclei may
remain separate for a
long time
 Gamete nuclei divide at
each cell division
producing dikaryotic
mycelium or heterokaryon
 Functionally diploid
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Fruiting bodies
 Heterokaryotic mycelium may produce a
fleshy fruiting body
 All cells of the fruiting body are dikaryotic
 When mature, the 2 nuclei in cells will fuse
 Produces zygotes (only diploid stage)
 Undergo meiosis to produce haploid
spores

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 Structure of fruiting bodies varies in ways
that reflect adaptations for spore dispersal
by wind, rain or animals.

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 Many fungi produce substances in the fruiting
body to deter consumption
 Toxins can cause liver failure requiring a transplant
 Hallucinogenic or psychoactive substances

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Asexual reproduction
 Many fungi reproduce
both sexually and
asexually
 Some reproduce primarily
or exclusively asexually
 Most reproduce asexually
by generating chains of
spores at the hyphae tips
 Many use conidia

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Fungal ecology
 Decomposer fungi are essential
component’s of the Earth’s ecosystems
 Work with bacteria
 Release minerals to the soil and water

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 Some fungi are predators trapping tiny soil
nematodes

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Fungal pathogens
 5000 species cause
serious crop diseases
 Rust spores can be
spread on the wind or
by other means
 Several human
diseases
 Dermatophytes -
athlete’s foot,
ringworm
 Pneomocystis carinii
pneumonia in AIDS 22
Mutualistic fungi
 Associations that benefit both partners
 Mycorhizzal fungi
 Endophytes
 Lichens

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Mycorhizzal fungi
 Association between the hyphae of certain fungi
and the roots of most seed plants
 More than 80% of terrestrial plants have
mycorrhizae
 Plants receive increased supply of water and
mineral nutrients
 Fungi get organic food molecules from the
plants
 2 most common types are ectomycorrhizae and
endomycorrhizae

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 Ectomycorrhizae
 Coat root surface and grow between
cells of roots

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 Endomycorrhizae
 Grow into root cell walls and plasma membranes
 Arbuscular mycorrhizae form highly branched
structures with high surface area

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Fungal endophytes
 Fungi live within the tissues of various types of
plants
 Endophytes obtain organic food molecules from
plants
 In turn contribute toxins or antibiotics that deter
foraging animals, insect pests, and microbial
pathogens
 Plants with endophytes often grow better than
plants of the same species without endophytic
fungi

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Lichens
 Partnerships of particular fungi and certain
photosynthetic green algae or cyanobacteria,
and sometimes both
 25,000 lichen species, but these did not all
descend from a common ancestor
 At least five separate fungal lineages
 3 major forms – crustose, foliose, fruticose
 Photosynthetic partner provides organic food
molecules and oxygen
 Fungal partner provides carbon dioxide, water,
and minerals
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 Lichens reproduce
 Sexually with
fungal partner
producing fruiting
bodies and sexual
spores
 1/3 can only
reproduce
asexually using
soredia
 Small hyphal
clumps surrounding
a few algal cells
 Clones 30
Piercey-Normore and DePriest Discovered
That Some Lichens Readily Change Partners
 Coevolution occurs when symbiotic
partners influence each other’s evolution
 Unclear whether this happened in lichens
 Asked if pattern of speciation for fungal
partner matched algal partner
 Analyzed DNA from 33 lichens
 Phylogenies do not match = no coevolution
 Lichens often switch partners
Biotechnology applications
 Fungi convert
inexpensive organic
compounds into citric
acid, glycerol, and
antibiotics
 Distinctive flavor of blue
cheese
 Saccharomyces
cerevisiae for bread, beer
and wine
 Replace chemical
procedures that generate
harmful waste products
 Wood pulp bleaching
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5 fungal kingdoms
 Chytridiomycota
 Zygomycota
 Glomeromycota
 Ascomycota
 Basidiomycota

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Chytridiomycota
 Simplest fungi
 Earliest fungal phylum
 Some are single,
spherical cells that may
produce hyphae
 Others are branched,
aseptate hyphae
 Only fungi to produce
flagellate cells – for spore
or gamete dispersal
 Live in water or moist soil
 Most decomposers, some
parasites 35
Zygomycota

 Mycelium mostly aseptate hyphae


 Produces asexual spores in sporangia
 Named for zygospore produced sexually
 Zygospore undergoes meiosis to produce
haploid spores
 Most are saprobes in soil
 Some are parasites
 Not monophyletic

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Glomeromycota
 Arbuscular mycorrhizal
(AM) fungi
 Only recently defined as
a group
 Aseptate hyphae
 Only asexual
reproduction using
unusually large
multinucleate spores
 Ability of early plants to
live on land may have
depended on help from
fungal associations 38
Ascomycota
 Unique sporangia called asci
 Produce sexual spores called ascospores
 Asci produced on fruiting bodies called
ascocarps
 Occur in terrestrial and aquatic habitats

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 Many decomposers and parasites
 Chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease, apple scab
 Truffles, morels
 Common lichen partner
 Most yeasts including baking and brewing yeast and
Candida albicans

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Yeast Is Used as a Model System in
Genomics, Proteomics, and Metabolomics
 Saccharomyces cerevisiae long served as model
system
 Genome completely sequenced
 6,000 genes on 16 chromosomes
 2 more genomes of close relatives
 Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Ashbya gossypii
 Comparative studies to examine evolution of entire
genomes
 Metabolomics – study of all the small molecules
produced in an organism
Basidiomycota
 Most recently evolved group of fungi
 Important decomposers and mycorrhizal partners
 Produce mushrooms, puffballs, stinkhorns, shelf fungi,
rusts and smuts as fruiting bodies
 Named for basidia that produce sexual spores called
basidiospores
 Fruiting bodies called basidiocarps
 Clamp connections help distribute nuclei during cell
division
 Reproduce asexually by various types of spores

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