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Algae > Volume 24(4); 2009 > Article
Algae 2009;24(4): 239-248. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/ALGAE.2009.24.4.239
Cell Division in the Absence of Mitosis:The Unusual Case of the Fucoid Ascophyllum nodosum(L.) Le Jolis (Phaeophyceae)
David J. Garbary*, Greg Lawson, Kelly Clement and Moira E. Galway
Department of Biology, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, B2G 2W5, Canada
Fluorescence and electron microscopy were used to examine epidermal shedding in the fucoid alga, Ascophyllum nodosum. Mature meristoderm cells are ca. 50-100 x 30-40 μm and highly polarized, with a single nucleus and chloroplasts near the base of the cell. Nuclei in these cells undergo mitosis when they are dividing to form a new cortical cell towards the middle of the frond, or anticlinal divisions as part of frond elongation. However, cytokinesis also occurs regularly in these cells when a new periclinal wall is deposited at about 30% of the cell length from the apical end. The newly formed distal cells are anucleate and without chloroplasts. Following cytokinesis the tangential walls then break at the thinnest point. The whole process is synchronous in adjoining epidermal cells across large areas of the frond surface, and this layer dehisces from the thallus. This is the only known plant or algal system in which cytokinesis regularly occurs in the absence of mitosis. We consider this process a novel form of programmed cell death.
Key words: Ascophyllum, cell division, cytokinesis, epidermal shedding, mitosis, programmed cell death

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