Fungal Morphogenesis

by David Moore
Published in  by Cambridge University Press, New York Office (xiv + 469 pages); 1998 in hardback ISBN 0 521 55295 8) and in paperback in 2002 ISBN0 521 52857 7


Fungal Morphogenesis brings together for the first time the full scope of fungal developmental biology. The book provides a coherent account which will be the basis for research in the future. The treatment also releases fungal morphogenesis from the confines of mycology, showing how and why this eukaryotic Kingdom deserves to be in the mainstream of developmental research. The author's view is quite simply that if you are ignorant of fungal morphogenesis then your understanding of developmental biology is incomplete.

The book is aimed at all biologists. Throughout, the author blends together physiological, biochemical, structural and molecular descriptions within an evolutionary framework, combining the older literature with the most recent. A comprehensive description of fungi is not attempted, though sufficient information is provided about fungal biology to give the general reader a rounded view of the mycological context within which fungal morphogenesis is played out, without obscuring the broader biological significance. 

Jargon is avoided, technical terms demystified and a reader with knowledge of basic biology should not need to bring any other knowledge with him/her, nor need to refer elsewhere, in order to appreciate fungal morphogenesis.

The first chapter is an overview of the evolutionary origins of fungi and the central role they played (and still play) in the evolution of life on Earth. The second chapter introduces hyphal growth, the essence of the fungal life style, and identifies features which are crucial aspects of morphogenesis. Chapter 3 summarises fungal primary and secondary metabolism, necessary here because adaptation of primary metabolism and exploitation of secondary metabolism are both critical to fungal morphogenesis. In chapter 4 the impact of physiology on morphogenesis is discussed, with the genetic components of differentiation and morphogenetic change being dealt with in chapter 5. The development of form and structure is the main theme of a lengthy chapter 6, and the ideas developed here are brought together and summarised in the final chapter 7.

Chapter Contents


1. Fungi: a place in time and space; 1.1. Fungal lifestyle; 1.2. The essential nature of fungi; 1. 3. Evolutionary origins; 1.4. Evidence from fossils; 1.5. Origin of development; 1.6. Evolution within Kingdom Fungi; 1.7. Horizontal transfer of genetic information; 1.8. Comparing and combining

2. Hyphal growth; 2.1. Fungal cells; 2.2. Hyphal tip extension; 2.3. Septation; 2.4. Branching; 2.5. Growth kinetics; 2.6. Dynamic boundaries

3. Metabolism and biochemistry of hyphal systems; 3.1. Nutrients in nature; 3.2. Extracellular polymer-degrading enzymes; 3.3. Production, location, regulation and use of degradative enzymes; 3.4. The menu of basic nutrients; 3.5. The wall and membrane as barriers; 3.6. The flow of solutes; 3.7. Transport strategy; 3.8. Water relations; 3.9. Intermediary metabolism; 3.10. Carbon metabolism; 3.11. Fat catabolism; 3.12. Nitrogen metabolism; 3.13. Secondary metabolism

4. Physiological factors favoring morphogenesis; 4.1. Nutrition; 4.2. Adaptations of metabolism; 4.3. Environmental variables

5. The genetic component of hyphal differentiation; 5.1. Nuclear divisions; 5.2. Sexuality in fungi; 5.3. Shape and form in yeasts and hyphae; 5.4. Sexual reproductive structures; 5.5. Overview

6. Development of form; 6.1. Initiation of structures; 6.2. Cell differentiation; 6.3. Tissue domains; 6.4. Strategies of basidiomycete fruiting; 6.5. Commitment, regeneration and senescence; 6.6. Degeneration, senescence and death

7. The keys to form and structure; 7.1. The nature of morphogenetic control; 7.2. Fungal morphogenesis

1500 References


ISBN: 0521552958; Binding: Hardback; Size: 236 x 159 mm; Pages: 486; Figures: 96 line diagrams, 22 half-tones, 23 tables and  ISBN: 05215528577; in softcover with the same dimensions and content.

Fungal Morphogenesis was well received on publication (indeed, it appeared in the Top-ten Best Sellers list in the Professional Titles, Biology category produced by Yankee Book Peddlers for the 4th quarter of 1998). You can read some quotations from published reviews immediately below.

YOU CAN ORDER the book from Amazon and from Cambridge University press in hardback, paperback or e-book formats.

Quotations from REVIEWS

"Fungal Morphogenesis is Volume 35 in the prestigious Cambridge University Press series on Developmental and Cell Biology, joining books on topics as diverse as kidney organogenesis and the development of fern gametophytes. Moore's intention is stated in the Preface: "I believe the fungi are too important to remain in an intellectual ghetto in some faintly plant-like place which most people visit rarely, and then with unease." He wants the scientific world to appreciate the unique attributes of fungi and at several points emphasizes that fungi are not plants... Fungal morphogenesis is addressed as a direct manifestation of biological diversity (i.e. fungal development as a topic in its own right) and within the context of broader biological significance (i.e., fungal development as a model for understanding molecular control of morphogenetic events). …. Living embedded in their food, and often responding to nutritional deprivation by sporulation, fungi are elastic in their morphological development. Moreover, their component cells, even differentiated ones, readily revert to vegetative growth. Moore makes the point that this does not mean that fungal development is less sophisticated than that found in animals and plants, but rather that the fungal life cycle is "supremely adaptable to challenging conditions." ... Experimental observations, in which specific cases are studied under particular conditions, must be weighed and synthesized in order to make generalizations. Moore admits "It is necessary to take the risk of being wrong in order to get some view of the overall picture," and does an admirable job of making provocative but not reckless hypotheses that can be tested in the laboratory. One particularly appealing aspect of the books is the author's familiarity with, and ready usage of, the zoological literature. Fungal morphogenesis is placed within the wider literature on animal pattern formation. Much can be learned from the embryology literature. Moore's erudition also informs his coverage of secondary metabolism. It is often stated that bacteria, fungi and plants are the main producers of these natural products. Moore points out that the supposed deficit of metabolite production by animals may be a matter of semantics. Animals produce toxins, hormones and other low molecular weight metabolites that can be viewed as secondary metabolites labeled with a different name.

 ... my opinion is highly positive. Moore is well read. He writes well and thinks broadly. He has the rare ability to describe both the forest and the trees. Since morphogenesis is the study of the whole process by which the organization and pattern of an organism is established, a book on fungal morphogenesis must integrate biochemical, structural, genetic and molecular mycological research. Moore's synthesis is a tour de force. It is rare to find a single author work that covers such a wide breadth of topics with such a pleasing combination of knowledge and eloquence. Tucked between the title page and the table of contents, Moore prints a John Lennon lyric: "Living is easy with eyes closed! Misunderstanding all you see" (Strawberry Fields, 1966). Mycologists and other biologists who delve into Fungal Morphogenesis will come away with a restless scientific unease over the extent of our ignorance and misunderstanding. This is Moore's intent. The final chapter of this fine monograph includes an apology   "This will involve extensive generalizations and potentially outrageous extrapolations" and a challenge: "Do the research to prove me wrong." All developmental mycologists should own a desk copy of Fungal Morphogenesis and all science librarians should be alerted to order a copy for their collections." Joan Bennett (Department of Cell & Molecular Biology, Tulane University, New Orleans)  in Inoculum: Supplement to Mycologia Volume 52(1), Februrary 2001, and Newsletter of the Mycological Society of America.

"A landmark treatise on fungi and a principal source of collected information for some time to come on all aspects of developmental biology". D. L. Richter (Michigan Technological University, USA) in CHOICE (publication of the Association of College & Research Libraries of the American Library Association), April, 1999.

"The book offers a deep and thorough description of issues concerning fungal developmental biology…What deserves special attention is the problem approach to the presentation of hypha tip development, branching, growth kinetics, cell differentiation, tissue domains, fructification strategies amongst Basidiomycetes, as well as regeneration, degeneration, aging and death. Also topics related to fungi enzymes, cell-wall and cell-membrane functions in metabolite transport, secondary metabolism, metabolism adaptations and molecular aspects of conidiation have been discussed in a very inspiring way. However, [the] book's biggest merit is the synthesis of an immense amount of biochemical, physiological, molecular and structural data and the presentation of an original morphoregulation hypothesis for fungi. The book should be considered essential for all mycologists, particularly those studying morphogenesis amongst fungi. This is mainly due to the fact that it indicates problems, which remain to be solved. The book addresses different issues from numerous areas. However, the author is a good teacher and, therefore, his work can be understood by a medium-advanced biologist. It should be recommended to all those interested in cell and developmental biology, as well as to microbiologists and geneticists." A. Borowska in Acta Mycologica, 1999, volume 34 (part2), p. 169.

"The greatest value of this book is that it brings the fungi within the mainstream of current developmental biology. ... the author often gives very personal opinions on controversial matters which makes for interesting reading." J. G. H. Wessels (Department of Biology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands), Mycologist, November 1999.

"In his latest book, David Moore, longtime editor of the journal Mycological Research, offers a provocative picture of the fundamental mechanisms by which hyphae extend and collaborate to form mushrooms. A book of this caliber has been needed for many years, and ... Moore has closed the gap between Sir John Burnett’s 1976 masterpiece, Fundamentals of Mycology, and the last quarter-century of experimental inquiry. ... Indeed, Moore has convinced me that were it not for the clinical and agricultural significance of invasive hyphal growth, fruit body morphogenesis would have long assumed primacy among the professional obsessions of experimental mycologists. ... there is much in this innovative text to inform all mycologists and other eukaryote microbiologists." Nicholas P. Money (Miami University, Oxford, Ohio ASM (American Society for Microbiology) News, Volume 65, Number 10, 1999, pp. 711 - 712.

"David Moore authoritatively blends together physiological, biochemical, molecular and structural descriptions within an evolutionary framework to provide a comprehensive account of fungal developmental biology in Fungal Morphogenesis. ... The book will be useful equally as a text and a reference book to students, teachers and researchers who are interested in fundamentals of fungal biology." Ajay Singh (Petrozyme Technologies Inc., Guelph, Ontario, Canada) Canadian Society of Microbiology Newsletter, Summer 1999, volume 46, no. 3, p. 11-12.

"Fungal Morphogenesis is a comprehensive book, covering most aspects of an exciting and important field. It is a daunting task to describe development over an entire kingdom, yet Moore manages to incorporate data from all classes of fungi into an overall synthesis of fungal development. He describes all of the current models of fungal morphogenesis and most of the relevant research. The extensive reference list includes the most pertinent fungal research over the past forty years" Laura Robertson & Hiten Madhani (Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, MA, USA ) in Trends in Cell Biology, September 1999, volume 9, p. 374.

"Fungal Morphogenesis is a rare example of a single author book that covers a large and developing area. The author is an established authority on the developmental biology of mushrooms of higher fungi ... Material is brought together from a range of sources and approaches to provide a useful overview of the present status of the field as a whole and to highlight hot topics for the future" Neil Gow (University of Aberdeen, UK) in Trends in Microbiology (1999) volume 7, page 92.

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