Circadian Rhythms in Neurospora crassa: Effects of Saturated Fatty Acids


To assess their effects on the conidiation rhythm in Neurospora, 14 saturated fatty acids from 6 to 24 carbons long were used to supplement the bd csp and bd csp cel strains. Both strains express a circadian spore-forming rhythm when grown on solid media; the cel mutation confers a partial fatty acid requirement. Fatty acid supplements from 8 to 13 carbons long lengthened the free-running period of bd csp cel compared with the control value of 21 h; the maximal effect (33 h) was obtained with nonanoic acid (9:0) at a concentration of 5 × 10−4 M. In contrast, the period of bd csp remained unchanged under all experimental conditions. The short-chain fatty acids (<14 carbons) reduced the rate of advance of the growth front in both strains, compared with unsupplemented controls. However, this inhibition did not appear to be responsible for the lengthened periods in bd csp cel. Nor was direct incorporation of the short-chain (period-lengthening) fatty acids into mycelial total lipids responsible, since such incorporation was not observed. In fact, extensive metabolic conversion of these supplements by both strains was indicated by the disappearance of short-chain fatty acids from the agar media coupled with their absence in mycelial lipids, and by the liberation of 14CO2 from cultures supplemented with [1-14C]lauric acid (12:0).

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