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Structure, composition, and biogenesis of prasinophyte cell coverings

Summary

The cell body and flagellar surfaces of certain green flagellates are covered by non-mineralized scales. Scale structure has been widely used in the systematics of this group of algae commonly known as the Prasinophyceae. The special importance of the flagellar hairs as a taxonomic marker is discussed. We summarize current knowledge about the structure and chemical composition of these scales with emphasis on thecate flagellates. Scales consist mainly of acidic polysaccharides involving unusual 2-keto sugar acids. Glycoproteins as minor components are mainly involved in mediating scale subunit and scale-membrane interactions and species specific glycosylation patterns exist. In thecate prasinophytes the elaboration of 3-deoxy-manno-2-octulosonic acid and galacturonic acid side chains presumably favours a complex of thecal scales with calcium ions and thus extracellular coalescence of the scales to a rigid cell wall. Scales are formed within the Golgi apparatus (GA) and especially in thecate prasinophytes scale formation (i.e., during flagellar regeneration) represents an excellent model system for GA function. Movement of developing scales through the GA requires cisternal progression. Biogenesis of scales involves mainly polysaccharide synthesis, whereas about 50% of the scale-associated glycoproteins are added from a pre-existing pool. Possible functions of prasinophyte scales are briefly discussed.

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Abbreviations

Dha:

3-deoxy-lyxo-2-heptulosaric acid

DSA:

Datura stramonium agglutinin

ER:

endoplasmic reticulum

GA:

Golgi apparatus

GNA:

Galanthus nivalis agglutinin

Kdo:

3-deoxy-manno-2-octulosonic acid

MeKdo:

3-deoxy-5-O-methyl-manno-2-octulosonic acid

SDS-PAGE:

sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

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Becker, B., Marin, B. & Melkonian, M. Structure, composition, and biogenesis of prasinophyte cell coverings. Protoplasma 181, 233–244 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01666398

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01666398

Keywords

  • Prasinophyceae
  • Cell covering
  • Scales
  • Cell wall
  • Cell wall development