Student Research Projects

SEM Analysis of Neurospora crassa Mutants

Student Kasey Hostetler, ‘15
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Biology
Course BIO 400: Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)


Neurospora crassa is used as a model organism for the study of filamentous fungal growth, development, and cell biology. Much work remains to be done regarding the genetic control of mycelial growth in fungi. A large number of mutants have been identified that display aberrant growth patterns that are visible either macroscopically or at the level of the light microscope. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is a technique that possesses high magnification capabilities and produces images with outstanding resolution of specimen surface features, which can provide details that are simply not visible with light microscopy. The purpose of this study was to extend the analysis of a number of morphological mutants at the ultra-structural level, using SEM. Preliminary analysis of a fungal annexin mutant has indicated distinct growth patterns as well as variations in structure of the hyphal filaments and cellular junctions. Further study may provide additional insight into structural changes associated with this mutation.