, Volume 236, Issue 4, pp 1013–1026 | Cite as

Ultrastructural study of plasmodesmata in the brown alga Dictyota dichotoma (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae)

  • Makoto Terauchi
  • Chikako Nagasato
  • Naoko Kajimura
  • Yoshinobu Mineyuki
  • Kazuo Okuda
  • Christos Katsaros
  • Taizo Motomura
Original Article


Plasmodesmata are intercellular bridges that directly connect the cytoplasm of neighboring cells and play a crucial role in cell-to-cell communication and cell development in multicellular plants. Although brown algae (Phaeophyceae, Heterokontophyta) are phylogenetically distant to land plants, they nevertheless possess a complex multicellular organization that includes plasmodesmata. In this study, the ultrastructure and formation of plasmodesmata in the brown alga Dictyota dichotoma were studied using transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography with rapid freezing and freeze substitution. D. dichotoma possesses plasma membrane-lined, simple plasmodesmata without internal endoplasmic reticulum (desmotubule). This structure differs from those in land plants. Plasmodesmata were clustered in regions with thin cell walls and formed pit fields. Fine proteinaceous “internal bridges” were observed in the cavity. Ultrastructural observations of cytokinesis in D. dichotoma showed that plasmodesmata formation began at an early stage of cell division with the formation of tubular pre-plasmodesmata within membranous sacs of the cytokinetic diaphragm. Clusters of pre-plasmodesmata formed the future pit field. As cytokinesis proceeded, electron-dense material extended from the outer surface of the mid region of the pre-plasmodesmata and finally formed the nascent cell wall. From these results, we suggest that pre-plasmodesmata are associated with cell wall development during cytokinesis in D. dichotoma.


Brown algae Cell wall Cytokinesis Dictyota dichotoma Electron tomography Pit field Plasmodesmata 





Endoplasmic reticulum




Transmission electron microscopy



We would like to express our thanks to Dr. K. Kimura, National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea, Fisheries Research Agency, for providing culture materials of D. dichotoma. This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Japan, and Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (20370025, 22370024, 22570084). This work was supported in part by “Nanotechnology Network Project of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan” at the Research Center for Ultrahigh Voltage Electron Microscopy, Osaka University (Handai Multi-Functional Nano-Foundry).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Makoto Terauchi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chikako Nagasato
    • 2
  • Naoko Kajimura
    • 3
  • Yoshinobu Mineyuki
    • 4
  • Kazuo Okuda
    • 5
  • Christos Katsaros
    • 6
  • Taizo Motomura
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental ScienceHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Muroran Marine Station, Field Science Center for Northern BiosphereHokkaido UniversityMuroranJapan
  3. 3.Research Center for Ultra-High Voltage Electron MicroscopyOsaka UniversityOsakaJapan
  4. 4.Department of Life Science, Graduate School of Life ScienceUniversity of HyogoHimejiJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of Kuroshio ScienceKochi UniversityKochiJapan
  6. 6.Department of Botany, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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