Regulation of apical growth and hyphal branching in Streptomyces.

The filamentous bacteria Streptomyces grow by tip extension and through the initiation of new branches, and this apical growth is directed by a polarisome-like complex involving the essential polarity protein DivIVA. New branch sites must be marked de novo and, until recently, there was no understanding of how these new sites are selected. Equally, hyphal branching patterns are affected by environmental conditions, but there was no insight into how polar growth and hyphal branching might be regulated in response to external or internal cues. This review focuses on recent discoveries that reveal the principal mechanism of branch site selection in Streptomyces, and the first mechanism to be identified that regulates polarisome behaviour to modulate polar growth and hyphal branching.