About this Research Topic
Fungi must respond to their environment to survive. How they sense fluctuations in their surroundings enables them to coordinate growth, metabolism and development accordingly. This requires the processing of inputs from multiple environmental stimuli, via complex signalling networks, to regulate only a few biological outcomes. Only now are we beginning to shed light on these multifaceted environment-sensing regulatory networks.
Sensing nutrient availability dictates fungal metabolism. This may be switching between the utilization of hexose or pentose saccharides, or to deconstruct complex polysaccharides, which is preceded by need the secretion of numerous hydrolytic enzymes. The sensing of particular nutrients may also regulate the production of harmful OR toxic secondary metabolites, which contribute to fungal disease and food contamination.
Sensing the environment on and within a host organism is key to fungal virulence, whether that be detecting waxes on the surface of a leaf, or sugars within the mammalian gut. These micro-environmental sensory mechanisms govern invasive growth and the evasion of host recognition, and they promote diseases caused by fungal pathogens. Conversely, the detection of preferred nutrient sources, such as ammonium, can inhibit virulence.
The perception of a sexual partner, nutrients and light regulates sexual development. How these signals are being integrated has a profound impact on fungal biology, including but not limited to the generation of fungal spores required for dispersal or and stress survival as well as the generation of genetic variation that promotes fungal evolution, fungicide resistance and pathogenesis.
These examples show how ‘Fungal Environment Sensing’ can modulate many aspects of fungal biology.
This Research Topic will portray our current understanding of how fungi sense their environment and to coordinate their metabolism, development and pathogenesis. It can be expected that the context of the individual articles in the research topic will provide ideas and insight into the potential for targeting these ‘Fungal Environment Sensing’ mechanisms. Identification of such new targets may lead to the development of new antifungal drugs to inhibit mitigate the detrimental impact that of fungal disease and food spoilage on society.
Keywords: Nutrient sensing, fungi, fungal metabolism, fungal physiology, signal transduction
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.