, Volume 208, Issue 3, pp 326-336

Microbody proliferation and segregation cycle in the single-microbody alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae

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The proliferation cycle of the microbody was studied in the primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae, which contains one microbody per cell. Cells were synchronized with a dark/light cycle, and the morphology of the microbody and its interaction with other organelles were observed three-dimensionally by fluorescence microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and computer-assisted three-dimensional reconstruction of serial thin sections. The microbody in interphase cells is a sphere of 0.3 μm in diameter without a core. In M-phase, the microbody passes through a series of irregular shapes, in the order rod, worm, branched, H-shaped and dumbbell, and symmetric fission occurs just before cytokinesis. The microbody duplicates its volume in M-phase and three-dimensional quantitative analysis revealed that its surface area increases before its volume does. The microbody touches the mitochondrion and the chloroplast throughout its proliferation cycle, except briefly in interphase cells, winding around the divisional plane of the mitochondrion at one phase. Immunocytochemical labeling of catalase as a marker of matrix proteins of the microbody revealed that the duplication of catalase occurs in tandem with the volume increase. While no specific apparatus was identified in the microbody divisional areas, we identified an electron-dense apparatus about 30–50 nm in diameter between the microbody and the mitochondrion that may play a role in segregating the daughter microbodies. These results are the first characterization to show the morphological changes of one microbody in a one-microbody alga without proliferation-inducing substrates, which have been used in many studies, and clearly show that two daughter microbodies arise by binary fission of the pre-existing microbody.