, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 143-155

Cell architecture of the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. inhabiting the Hawaiian stony coral Montipora verrucosa

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Abstract

The Hawaiian stony coral Montipora verrucosa (Lamarck) Quoy et Gaimard (Anthozoa) harbours zooxanthellae of the genus Symbiodinium Freudenthal (Dinophyceae). The algae occur as coccoid cells when inside their host and produce periodically motile flagellate cells when in culture. Coccoid cells of cultured specimens were investigated in this study, using three-dimensional reconstructions in tandem with quantitative analyses after electron microscopy of serially sectioned cells, as well as freeze-fracture electron microscopy. The amphiesma normally consists of five membraneous layers with intermediate material of unknown composition. The intracellular morphology is characterized by a single, peripheral, multilobed chloroplast with a parallel thylakoid arrangement, polyhedral inclusions resembling carboxysomes, and one double-stalked pyrenoid, outlined by a triple-layered chloroplast envelope. Spherical, elongated or branched mitochondria are aggregated in the center of the cell, surrounded by the chloroplast. The nucleus is a large, spherical structure located rather ventrally and containing 26 chromosomes with ovoid to elongated shapes. Further structures found to be present include Golgi apparatus, fibrous bodies, centrioles, and vacuoles containing crystals. Cell models of Symbiodinium sp. are represented in order to uncover completely the cellular microarchitecture of a gymnodinioid zooxanthella.

Communicated by O. Kinne, Oldendorf/Luhe