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Book Sections Year : 2019

Phenotypic instability in fungi


Fungi are prone to phenotypic instability, that is, the vegetative phase of these organisms, be they yeasts or molds, undergoes frequent switching between two or more behaviors, often with different morphologies, but also sometime having different physiologies without any obvious morphological outcome. In the context of industrial utilization of fungi, this can have a negative impact on the maintenance of strains and/or on their productivity. Instabilities have been shown to result from various mechanisms, either genetic or epigenetic. This chapter will review different types of instabilities and discuss some lesser-known ones, mostly in filamentous fungi, while it will direct readers to additional literature in the case of well-known phenomena such as the amyloid prions or fungal senescence. It will present in depth the "white/opaque" switch of Candida albicans and the "crippled growth" degeneration of the model fungus Podospora anserina. These are two of the most thoroughly studied epigenetic phenotypic switches. I will also discuss the "sectors" presented by many filamentous ascomycetes, for which a prion-based model exists but is not demonstrated. Finally, I will also describe intriguing examples of phenotypic instability for which an explanation has yet to be provided.

Dates and versions

hal-03153731 , version 1 (26-02-2021)



Philippe Silar. Phenotypic instability in fungi. Advances in Applied Microbiology, 107, pp.141-187, 2019, ⟨10.1016/bs.aambs.2019.03.002⟩. ⟨hal-03153731⟩
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