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Fungal film festival

Julie Manoharan

Seventy-six cell biology videos starring an infectious fungus that destroys corn crops have been published online.

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Gero Steinberg is fascinated by fungi. To share his obsession with young researchers, the University of Exeter professor has published 76 videos of Ustilago maydis—a Jekyll-and-Hyde fungus that transforms from a harmless, round-shaped cell into a fiber-shaped, corn crop–decimating pathogen.

The 3-D animations capture U. maydis’ stained cytoskeletal elements such as microtubule and actin filaments—as well as peroxisomes, endosomes, and mitrochondria—inside the fungal cell body in suspended animation or in real-time dynamics.

Above, endosomes shuttle inside the nonpathogenic cell of Ustilago maydis. The cell edge is shown in blue and endosomes are shown in green. Source: Fungal Biology Reviews

Steinberg incorporated the movies into his presentation at the 9th International Mycological Congress, held in Edinburgh in August 2010, where fungal specialists from around the world discussed their recent works.

The videos are published in the supplemental content of the paper, “The dynamic fungal cell,” published online on 22 Feb. in Fungal Biology Reviews.

For more videos, visit

Keywords:  fungal video