Altered zygospore wall ultrastructure correlates with reduced abiotic stress resistance in a mutant strain of Chlamydomonas monoica (chlorophyta)

Patricia Daniel, Jessica Henley, Karen P VanWinkle-Swift

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3 Scopus citations


The zygospore of Chlamydomonas is a diploid resting stage that provides protection from environmental extremes. The remarkable abiotic stress resistance of the zygospore can be explained, in part, by the presence of a massive wall that includes a sporopollenin-containing surface layer (Van Winkle-Swift and Rickoll 1997). A Chlamydomonas monoica Strehlow zygospore-specific mutant strain (D19) was obtained previously by screening for loss of chloroform resistance in zygospore populations derived from self-mating of post-mutagenesis clones. Exposure of D19 zygospores to solar UV radiation or germicidal radiation also resulted in a pronounced decrease in survival of D19 zygospores relative to wildtype zygospore survival. Similarly, resistance to NaCl-induced osmotic shock was reduced in D19 zygospores, especially when exposed to very high (e.g., 20% w/v) salt concentrations. Mature zygospores of C. monoica exhibit a UV-induced blue surface autofluorescence that may indicate the presence of phenolic wall components. The intensity of zygospore autofluorescence was significantly reduced in D19 zygospores. As revealed by TEM, the surface layer of mature homozygous D19 zygospores was disrupted, suggesting a defect in wall assembly. Zygospore-specific chloroform sensitivity, UV sensitivity, and reduced autofluorescence cosegregated in tetrads derived from D19 heterozygotes (i.e., if a progeny clone from a cross involving D19 and a normal strain was found to be chloroform sensitive, it was always also UV sensitive and showed reduced autofluorescence), indicating that all three characteristics were the consequence of the same Mendelian mutation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-119
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007



  • Abiotic stress
  • Cell wall
  • Chlamydomonas monoica
  • Sporopollenin
  • UV radiation
  • Zygospore

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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