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Open Access Sexual reproduction, mating system, chloroplast dynamics and abrupt cell size reduction in Pseudo-nitzschia pungens from the North Sea (Bacillariophyta)

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Clonal cultures of Pseudo-nitzschia pungens were isolated at various times from seven sites in the North Sea. During the mitotic cell cycle, the two plate-shaped chloroplasts were girdle-appressed during interphase and mitosis. After cytokinesis, the chloroplasts moved onto the parental valve and remained there during the formation of the new hypovalve and until separation and re-arrangement of the sibling cells within the cell chain had been completed. Clones were almost always heterothallic and cultures of opposite mating type isolated from different localities were compatible. Meiosis I was cytokinetic and accompanied by chloroplast division. Meiosis II involved karyokinesis but not cytokinesis and preceded the rearrangement and contraction of the two gametes. Sexual reproduction involved physiological anisogamy. With one exception, gamete behaviour was clone-specific, gametes being active in clones of one mating type but passive in clones of the other mating type. Auxospore development was accompanied by deposition of a transverse and then a longitudinal perizonium. Infrequently, triploid auxospores and presumably haploid auxospores were produced. The four chloroplasts of diploid auxospores did not divide, and behaved synchronously during the two acytokinetic mitotic cycles accompanying the deposition of the initial thecae. Just before the first division of the initial cell, the chloroplasts shifted onto the valves (two per valve). The division of the initial cell was not accompanied by chloroplast division and so the two daughter cells received two chloroplasts each. Two modes of abrupt cell size reduction were detected. One occurred during initial cell formation when part of the expanded auxospore aborted. The other pattern was more gradual and was observed in growing cultures; during successive cell divisions a frustule constriction appeared and intensified, one chloroplast split into two, and part of the protoplast aborted. A simple naming system is proposed for mating types in pennate diatoms.

Keywords: Bacillariophyta; Pseudo-nitzschia; abrupt size reduction; auxosporulation; chloroplast; diatoms; heterothally; mating system; sexual reproduction

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Protistology and Aquatic Ecology, Department of Biology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281-S8, B-9000 Gent, Belgium 2: Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR, Scotland, UK 3: Rijksinstituut voor Kust & Zee, P.O. Box 8039, NL-4330 EA Middelburg, The Netherlands

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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