Ionizing radiation: how fungi cope, adapt, and exploit with the help of melanin

Ekaterina Dadachova, Arturo Casadevall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Life on Earth has always existed in the flux of ionizing radiation. However, fungi seem to interact with the ionizing radiation differently from other inhabitants of the Earth. Recent data show that melanized fungal species like those from Chernobyl's reactor respond to ionizing radiation with enhanced growth. Fungi colonize space stations and adapt morphologically to extreme conditions. Radiation exposure causes upregulation of many key genes, and an inducible microhomology-mediated recombination pathway could be a potential mechanism of adaptive evolution in eukaryotes. The discovery of melanized organisms in high radiation environments, the space stations, Antarctic mountains, and in the reactor cooling water combined with phenomenon of 'radiotropism' raises the tantalizing possibility that melanins have functions analogous to other energy harvesting pigments such as chlorophylls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)525-531
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2008

Fingerprint

Melanins
Ionizing Radiation
Fungi
Chlorophyll
Eukaryota
Genetic Recombination
Up-Regulation
Radiation
Water
Growth
Genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology

Cite this

Ionizing radiation : how fungi cope, adapt, and exploit with the help of melanin. / Dadachova, Ekaterina; Casadevall, Arturo.

In: Current Opinion in Microbiology, Vol. 11, No. 6, 12.2008, p. 525-531.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dadachova, Ekaterina ; Casadevall, Arturo. / Ionizing radiation : how fungi cope, adapt, and exploit with the help of melanin. In: Current Opinion in Microbiology. 2008 ; Vol. 11, No. 6. pp. 525-531.
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