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Fischer R; Aguirre J; Herrera-Estrella A; Corrochano L (2016)

THE COMPLEXITY OF FUNGAL VISION

Microbiology Spectrum 4(6):
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© 2016 American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved. Life, as we know it, would not be possible without light. Light is not only a primary source of energy, but also an important source of information for many organisms. To sense light, only a few photoreceptor systems have developed during evolution. They are all based on an organic molecule with conjugated double bonds that allows energy transfer from visible (or UV) light to its cognate protein to translate the primary physical photoresponse to cell-biological actions. The three main classes of receptors are flavin-based blue-light, retinal-based green-light (such as rhodopsin), and linear tetrapyrrole-based red-light sensors. Light not only controls the behavior of motile organisms, but is also important for many sessile microorganisms including fungi. In fungi, light controls developmental decisions and physiological adaptations as well as the circadian clock. Although all major classes of photoreceptors are found in fungi, a good level of understanding of the signaling processes at the molecular level is limited to some model fungi. However, current knowledge suggests a complex interplay between light perception systems, which goes far beyond the simple sensing of light and dark. In this article we focus on recent results in several fungi, which suggest a strong link between light-sensing and stress-activated mitogen-activated protein kinases.