, Volume 149, Issue 2–3, pp 130–143 | Cite as

The effect of drugs on diatom valve morphogenesis

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


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


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Blank GS, Sullivan CW (1983 a) Diatom mineralization of silicic acid. VI. The effects of microtubule inhibitors on silicic acid metabolism inNavicula saprohila. J Phycol 19: 39–44Google Scholar
  2. — — (1983 b) Diatom mineralization of silicic acid. VII. Influence of microtubule drugs on symmetry and pattern formation in valves ofNavicula saprophila during morphogenesis. J Phycol 19: 294–301Google Scholar
  3. Boyle JA, Pickett-Heaps JD, Czarnecki DB (1984) Valve morphogenesis in the pennate diatomAchnanthes coarctata. J Phycol 20: 563–573Google Scholar
  4. Cohn SA, Pickett-Heaps JD (1988) The effects of colchicine and dinitrophenol on the in vivo rates of anaphase A and B in the diatomSurirella. Eur J Cell Biol 46: 523–530Google Scholar
  5. - Spurck TP, Pickett-Heaps JD, Edgar LA (1989) Perizonium and initial valve formation in the diatomNavicula cuspidata (Bacillariophyceae). J Phycol (in press)Google Scholar
  6. Edgar LA, Pickett-Heaps JD (1984 a) Valve morphogenesis in the pennate diatomNavicula cuspidata. J Phycol 20: 47–61Google Scholar
  7. — — (1984 b) Diatom locomotion. In: Round FE, Chapman DJ (eds) Progress in phycological research, vol 3. Biopress Ltd, Bristol, pp, 47–88Google Scholar
  8. Hinz I, Spurck TP, Pickett-Heaps JD (1986) Metabolic inhibitors and mitosis: III. Effects of dinitrophenol on spindle disassembly inPinnularia. Protoplasma 132: 85–89Google Scholar
  9. Pickett-Heaps JD (1983) Valve morphogenesis and the micro tubule center in three species of the diatomNitzschia. J Phycol 19: 269–281Google Scholar
  10. —, Kowalski SE (1981) Valve morphogenesis and the microtubule center of the diatomHantzschia amphioxys. Eur J Cell Biol 25: 150–170Google Scholar
  11. —, Spurck TP (1982 a) Studies on kinetochore function in mitosis. I. The effects of colchicine and cytochalasin on mitosis in the diatomHantzschia amphioxys. Eur J Cell Biol 28: 77–82Google Scholar
  12. — — (1982 b) Studies on kinetochore function in mitosis. II. The effects of metabolic inhibitors on mitosis and cytokinesis in the diatomHantzschia amphioxys. Eur J Cell Biol 28: 83–91Google Scholar
  13. —, Conn SA, Schmid A-M, Tippit DH (1988) Valve morphogenesis inSurirella (Bacillariophyceae). J Phycol 24: 35–49Google Scholar
  14. —, Schmid A-MM, Tippit DH (1984) Cell division in diatoms. A translation of part of Robert Lauterborn's treatise of 1896 with some modern confirmatory observations. Protoplasma 120: 132–154Google Scholar
  15. —, Tippit DH, Andreozzi JA (1979 a) Cell division in the pennate diatomPinnularia. III. The valve and associated cytoplasmic organelles. Biol Cell 35: 195–198Google Scholar
  16. — — — (1979 b) Cell division in the pennate diatomPinnularia. IV. Valve morphogenesis. Biol Cell 35: 199–203Google Scholar
  17. Ross R, Cox EJ, Karayeva NI, Mann DG, Paddock TBB, Simonsen R, Sims PA (1979) An amended terminology for the siliceous components of the diatom cell. Nova Hedw [Beih] 64: 513–533Google Scholar
  18. Schmid A-MM (1979 a) Influence of environmental factors on the development of the valve in diatoms. Protoplasma 99: 99–115Google Scholar
  19. — (1976 b) The development of structure in the shells of diatoms. Nova Hedw [Beih] 64: 219–236Google Scholar
  20. — (1980) Valve morphogenesis in diatoms: pattern-related filamentous system in pennates and the effect of APM, colchicine and osmotic pressure. Nova Hedw 33: 811–847Google Scholar
  21. — (1984) Wall morphogenesis inThalassiosira eccentrica: comparison of auxospore formation and the effect of MT-inhibitors. In: Mann DG (ed) Proceedings of the Seventh International Diatom Symposium. O Koeltz, Koenigstein, pp 47–70Google Scholar
  22. —, Borowitzka MA, Volcani BE (1981) Morphogenesis and biochemistry of diatom cell walls. In: Kiermayer O (ed) Cytomorphogenesis in plants. Springer, Wien New York, pp 63–97 (Cell biology monographs, vol 8)Google Scholar
  23. Soranno T, Pickett-Heaps JD (1982) Directionally controlled spindle disassembly after mitosis in the diatomPinnularia. Eur J Cell Biol 26: 234–243Google Scholar
  24. Tippit DH, Picket-Heaps JD (1974) Experimental investigation into morphogenesis inMicrasterias. Protoplasma 81: 271–296Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations