Hyphae of filamentous fungi consist of compartments that are distinct both spatially and functionally, thereby forming a unique multicellular system. Much work has been done mainly using fluorescence imaging to reveal what biomolecules are present in those different hyphal sections and what physiological roles they play. Nevertheless, a holistic understanding of hyphal functions including the polarized growth of hyphae is still lacking because of the difficulty in simultaneous acquisition of spatial and chemical information on various molecular components in living hyphae. Here, we used a multivariate curve resolution-alternating least-squares (MCR-ALS) analysis of Raman hyperspectral imaging data to study in vivo the spatial distributions and chemical properties of major cellular components in the tip, basal, and branching regions of the model fungus Aspergillus nidulans. The MCR-ALS Raman imaging method visualized, without any labeling, the characteristic distributions of cytochromes as well as other components including polysaccharides, noncytochrome proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and ergosterol in the hyphal regions studied. Furthermore, the intrinsic Raman spectra derived for the first time from the MCR-ALS analysis enabled us to gain otherwise unobtainable chemical insights into those visualized components. We show variations in the relative abundance of cytochromes b and c and in their redox states (reduced vs oxidized form) among the three different representative compartments of A. nidulans hyphae, which could potentially be associated with specific physiological activities and functions of hyphae. The present results demonstrate that our MCR-ALS Raman imaging can serve as a useful tool complementary to the conventional approaches, for elucidating the diverse roles of filamentous fungi at the molecular level.
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