Brown Algae as a Model for Plant Organogenesis

  • Kenny A. Bogaert
  • Alok Arun
  • Susana M. Coelho
  • Olivier De ClerckEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 959)


Brown algae are an extremely interesting, but surprisingly poorly explored, group of organisms. They are one of only five eukaryotic lineages to have independently evolved complex multicellularity, which they express through a wide variety of morphologies ranging from uniseriate branched filaments to complex parenchymatous thalli with multiple cell types. Despite their very distinct evolutionary history, brown algae and land plants share a striking amount of developmental features. This has led to an interest in several aspects of brown algal development, including embryogenesis, polarity, cell cycle, asymmetric cell division and a putative role for plant hormone signalling. This review describes how investigations using brown algal models have helped to increase our understanding of the processes controlling early embryo development, in particular polarization, axis formation and asymmetric cell division. Additionally, the diversity of life cycles in the brown lineage and the emergence of Ectocarpus as a powerful model organism, are affording interesting insights on the molecular mechanisms underlying haploid-diploid life cycles. The use of these and other emerging brown algal models will undoubtedly add to our knowledge on the mechanisms that regulate development in multicellular photosynthetic organisms.

Key words

Brown algae Development Polarization Asymmetric cell division Auxin Hormone Life cycle Cell cycle Fucus Ectocarpus 



The authors are indebted to the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) (PhD fellowship to KB), the Erasmus Mundus External Cooperation Window (EMECW) (PhD fellowship to AA). The Algal Genetics lab is supported by the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, the University Pierre and Marie Curie, the Groupement d’Interet Scientifique Génomique Marine, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), and the Interreg Programme (Marinexus).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenny A. Bogaert
    • 1
  • Alok Arun
    • 2
    • 3
  • Susana M. Coelho
    • 2
    • 4
  • Olivier De Clerck
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Phycology Research Group, Department of Biology, Center for Molecular Phylogenetics and EvolutionGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 7139, Laboratoire International Associé Dispersal and Adaptation in Marine Species, Station Biologique de RoscoffRoscoff CedexFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire International Associé Dispersal and Adaptation in Marine Species, CNRS, UMR 7139RoscoffFrance
  4. 4.Laboratoire International Associé Dispersal and Adaptation in Marine Species, UMR 7139, Station Biologique de RoscoffRoscoffFrance

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