, Volume 149, Issue 2, pp 130–143

The effect of drugs on diatom valve morphogenesis

  • S. A. Cohn
  • Juli Nash
  • J. D. Pickett-Heaps

DOI: 10.1007/BF01322985

Cite this article as:
Cohn, S.A., Nash, J. & Pickett-Heaps, J.D. Protoplasma (1989) 149: 130. doi:10.1007/BF01322985


The effects of various drugs on cell wall (valve) morphogenesis was investigated in three species of diatoms (Pinnularia spp., Surirella robusta, andHantzschia amphioxys) using light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Treatment ofSurirella with the microtubule (MT) disrupting agent colchicine during early valve formation results in a characteristic malformation of the valve, whereby part of the normally circumferential raphe canal forms as an abnormal protruding lip on the valve surface, located up to ∼ 20 μm from the edge of the valve. The position of this malformed lip coincides with the location of a microtubule center (MC) at the time of colchicine addition, suggesting that the MC may play a direct role in positioning the tip of the raphe canal during valve formation. The migration of this MC to the tip of the cell during early valve morphogenesis is reversibly inhibited by the metabolic inhibitor 2-4-dinitrophenol (DNP). The effect of colchicine onPinnularia valve formation is less severe, causing occasional malformation of the raphe, but little if any lateral displacement. InHantzschia, colchicine has no effect on the positioning of the raphe, but prolonged exposure causes fusion of the raphe canal with the valve face. Cochicine treatment also results in the absence of the normal curvature at the central interruption in the raphe, as well as abnormal pore formation in this central area. Addition of cytochalasin D during early valve formation inHantzschia causes the raphe canal to form in the center of the valve face, suggesting that the normal translocation of the raphe canal to the valve edge is actindependent. Comparison of valves from control and cytochalasintreatmentHantzschia suggest that the pore spacing within the valve is determined by the position relative to the raphe, and does not depend on whether to pores form on the side (mantle) or the face of the mature valve.


Colchicine Cytochalasin D Diatom Microtubule center Morphogenesis Valve morphology 



diatom medium






microtubule center


primary silicification site


silica deposition vesicle

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. A. Cohn
    • 1
  • Juli Nash
    • 1
  • J. D. Pickett-Heaps
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental BiologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulder
  2. 2.Division of Molecular and Cellular BiologyNational Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory MedicineDenverUSA

Personalised recommendations