, Volume 233, Issue 1, pp 75–86 | Cite as

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: duration of its cell cycle and phases at growth rates affected by light intensity

  • Milada Vítová
  • Kateřina Bišová
  • Dáša Umysová
  • Monika Hlavová
  • Shigeyuki Kawano
  • Vilém ZachlederEmail author
  • Mária Čížková
Original Article


In the cultures of the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, division rhythms of any length from 12 to 75 h were found at a range of different growth rates that were set by the intensity of light as the sole source of energy. The responses to light intensity differed in terms of altered duration of the phase from the beginning of the cell cycle to the commitment to divide, and of the phase after commitment to cell division. The duration of the pre-commitment phase was determined by the time required to attain critical cell size and sufficient energy reserves (starch), and thus was inversely proportional to growth rate. If growth was stopped by interposing a period of darkness, the pre-commitment phase was prolonged corresponding to the duration of the dark interval. The duration of the post-commitment phase, during which the processes leading to cell division occurred, was constant and independent of growth rate (light intensity) in the cells of the same division number, or prolonged with increasing division number. It appeared that different regulatory mechanisms operated through these two phases, both of which were inconsistent with gating of cell division at any constant time interval. No evidence was found to support any hypothetical timer, suggested to be triggered at the time of daughter cell release.


Cell division timing Cell cycle phases Chlamydomonas Commitment to cell division Light intensity Starch reserves 



Commitment point


Light/dark periods


Mean light intensity in μmol m−2 s−1


Growth rate in doubling h−1



This work was supported by grants from Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (the program of internal support of the projects of international cooperation No. M200200904, Grant No. A500200614), the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (Grant Nos. 525/09/0102. 204/09/0111) and the Institutional Research Concepts (No. AV0Z50200510) funded by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Milada Vítová
    • 1
  • Kateřina Bišová
    • 1
  • Dáša Umysová
    • 1
  • Monika Hlavová
    • 1
  • Shigeyuki Kawano
    • 2
  • Vilém Zachleder
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mária Čížková
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Cell Cycles of AlgaeInstitute of Microbiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (ASCR)Třeboň, Opatovický mlýnCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Integrated Sciences, Graduate School of Frontier SciencesUniversity of TokyoKashiwaJapan

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