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Phosphate limitation induces sporulation in the chytridiomycete Blastocladiella emersonii

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Abstract:

The cell cycle is controlled by numerous mechanisms that ensure correct cell division. If growth is not possible, cells may eventually promote autophagy, differentiation, or apoptosis. Microorganisms interrupt their growth and differentiate under general nutrient limitation. We analyzed the effects of phosphate limitation on growth and sporulation in the chytridiomycete Blastocladiella emersonii using kinetic data, phase-contrast, and laser confocal microscopy. Under phosphate limitation, zoospores germinated and subsequently formed 2–4 spores, regardless of the nutritional content of the medium. The removal of phosphate at any time during growth induced sporulation of vegetative cells. If phosphate was later added to the same cultures, growth was restored if the cells were not yet committed to sporulation. The cycles of addition and withdrawal of phosphate from growth medium resulted in cycles of germination–growth, germination–sporulation, or germination–growth–sporulation. These results show that phosphate limitation is sufficient to interrupt cell growth and to induce complete sporulation in B. emersonii. We concluded that the determination of growth or sporulation in this microorganism is linked to phosphate availability when other nutrients are not limiting. This result provides a new tool for the dissection of nutrient–energy and signal pathways in cell growth and differentiation.

Keywords: Blastocladiella emersonii; cell differentiation; cell growth; croissance des cellules; différenciation cellulaire; phosphate; sporulation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/w2012-090

Publication date: September 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Published since 1954, this monthly journal contains new research in the field of microbiology including applied microbiology and biotechnology; microbial structure and function; fungi and other eucaryotic protists; infection and immunity; microbial ecology; physiology, metabolism and enzymology; and virology, genetics, and molecular biology. It also publishes review articles and notes on an occasional basis, contributed by recognized scientists worldwide.
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