THE ROLE OF F-ACTIN DURING FERTILIZATION IN THE RED ALGA AGLAOTHAMNION OOSUMIENSE (RHODOPHYTA)

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Abstract

The actin cytoskeletons in spermatia and trichogynes of Aglaothamnion oosumiense Itono were studied using fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) conjugated phalloidin and the cytoskeletal inhibitors, potassium iodide (KI), cytochalasin-B, and latrunculin-A. Microfilaments were localized to the distal ends of elongated spermatia and trichogynes and were more prominent in the trichogyne before spermatium binding. The actin cytoskeleton in spermatia and trichogynes was disrupted by treatment with 0.6 M KI, 100 μM cytochalasin-B, or 10 μM latrunculin-A. The actin cytoskeleton in trichogynes recovered within 24 h of removal from the inhibitor, but no recovery was observed in spermatia. Spermatial nuclei entered mitosis as soon as spermatia attached to the trichogyne. The greatest percentage (50%– 60%) of spermatia having completed mitosis was obtained at 60 min after spermatial binding to trichogynes. During mitosis, actin accumulated in the center of the spermatium, thereby separating the two daughter nuclei. Cytoskeletal inhibitors did not affect initial binding of spermatia to trichogynes but did block subsequent stages of fertilization, including spermatial mitosis and gamete fusion. The accumulation of cellulose or β-linked polysaccharide on the spermatial surface was also blocked by treatment with actin inhibitors. Exposure of the trichogyne to actin inhibitors after gamete fusion caused spermatial nuclei in trichogynes to stop moving and to condense. These results suggest that the microfilaments involved in nuclear division, cellulose deposition into the spermatial wall, gamete fusion, and migration of spermatial nuclei in trichogynes during fertilization in Aglaothamnion oosumiense.

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