, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 395–403 | Cite as

Ultrastructure of spore development in Scutellospora heterogama

  • Peter Jeffries
  • Louisa Robinson-Boyer
  • Paul Rice
  • Ray J. Newsam
  • John C. Dodd
Original Paper


The ultrastructural detail of spore development in Scutellospora heterogama is described. Although the main ontogenetic events are similar to those described from light microscopy, the complexity of wall layering is greater when examined at an ultrastructural level. The basic concept of a rigid spore wall enclosing two inner, flexible walls still holds true, but there are additional zones within these three walls distinguishable using electron microscopy, including an inner layer that is involved in the formation of the germination shield. The spore wall has three layers rather than the two reported previously. An outer, thin ornamented layer and an inner, thicker layer are both derived from the hyphal wall and present at all stages of development. These layers differentiate into the outer spore layer visible at the light microscope level. A third inner layer unique to the spore develops during spore swelling and rapidly expands before contracting back to form the second wall layer visible by light microscopy. The two inner flexible walls also are more complex than light microscopy suggests. The close association with the inner flexible walls with germination shield formation consolidates the preferred use of the term ‘germinal walls’ for these structures. A thin electron-dense layer separates the two germinal walls and is the region in which the germination shield forms. The inner germinal wall develops at least two sub-layers, one of which has an appearance similar to that of the expanding layer of the outer spore wall. An electron-dense layer is formed on the inner surface of the inner germinal wall as the germination shield develops, and this forms the wall surrounding the germination shield as well as the germination tube. At maturity, the outer germinal wall develops a thin, striate layer within its substructure.


Scutellospora Spore ultrastructure Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Germination shield Germinal walls Glomeromycota 



This work was funded by EU INTERREG grant project 110/118.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Jeffries
    • 1
  • Louisa Robinson-Boyer
    • 1
  • Paul Rice
    • 1
  • Ray J. Newsam
    • 1
  • John C. Dodd
    • 2
  1. 1.Biomedical Research Group, Department of BiosciencesUniversity of KentCanterburyUK
  2. 2.PlantWorks LtdSittingbourneUK

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