The zygospore wall of Chlamydomonas monoica (chlorophyceae): Morphogenesis and evidence for the presence of sporopollenin

Karen P. VanWinkle-Swift, Wayne L. Rickoll

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38 Scopus citations


Chlamydomonas monoica Strehlow is being developed as a model for genetic analysis of zygospore morphogenesis, and many relevant mutant strains are available. To provide the basis for interpreting the ultrastructural phenotypes of zygospore mutants, an analysis of wall morphogenesis in wildtype zygospores of C. monoica was under-taken. Following synthesis of a thick, fibrous, primary zygote wall, granular material accumulated between the plasma membrane and the primary zygote wall and aggregated into a repetitive array of electron-opaque fibrous stripes. A new wall layer, the outer layer of the secondary zygospore wall, first appeared as segments with a fibrous outer surface overlying a well-defined band of electron-translucent material. These segments gave rise to an intact sheath adjacent to the plasma membrane. Beneath this sheath, electron-opaque material (forming the inner layer of the secondary zygospore wall) accumulated unevenly and forced the surface sheath to undulate, creating a pattern of peaks and valleys that was exposed to the external environment by rupture and release of the primary zygote wall. The zygospore wall included material resistant to degradation by potassium hydroxide, 2-aminoethanol, and acetolysis, but it was destroyed by exposure to chromic acid. These characteristics, in combination with the autofluorescence of untreated zygospore walls and their failure to stain with phloroglucinol, suggest that sporopollenin may be responsible for many of the resistant properties associated with the mature zygospore of Chlamydomonas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-665
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1997


  • Chlamydomonas monoica
  • Sexual reproduction
  • Sporopollenin
  • Zygospore
  • Zygote wall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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