We have identified and cloned a novel essential myosin I in Aspergillus nidulans called myoA. The 1,249-amino acid predicted polypeptide encoded by myoA is most similar to the amoeboid myosins I. Using affinity-purified antibodies against the unique myosin I carboxyl terminus, we have determined that MYOA is enriched at growing hyphal tips. Disruption of myoA by homologous recombination resulted in a diploid strain heterozygous for the myoA gene disruption. We can recover haploids with an intact myoA gene from these strains, but never haploids that are myoA disrupted. These data indicated that myoA encodes an essential myosin I, and this has allowed us to use a unique approach to studying myosin I function. We have developed conditionally null myoA strains in which myoA expression is regulated by the alcA alcohol dehydrogenase promoter. A conditionally lethal strain germinated on inducing medium grows as wild type, displaying polarized growth by apical extension. However, growth of the same myoA mutant strain on repressing medium results in enlarged cells incapable of hyphal extension, and these cells eventually die. Under repressing conditions, this strain also displays reduced levels of secreted acid phosphatase. The mutant phenotype indicates that myoA plays a critical role in polarized growth and secretion.

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