The association of ciliate Paramecium bursaria with symbiotic Chlorella sp. is a mutualistic symbiosis. However, both the alga-free paramecia and symbiotic algae can still grow independently and can be reinfected experimentally by mixing them. Effects of the host's nutritional conditions against the symbiotic algal cell division and density were examined during early reinfection. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that algal cell division starts 24 h after mixing with alga-free P. bursaria, and that the algal mother cell wall is discarded from the perialgal vacuole membrane, which encloses symbiotic alga. Labelling of the mother cell wall with Calcofluor White Stain, a cell-wall-specific fluorochrome, was used to show whether alga had divided or not. Pulse labelling of alga-free P. bursaria cells with Calcofluor White Stain-stained algae with or without food bacteria for P. bursaria revealed that the fluorescence of Calcofluor White Stain in P. bursaria with bacteria disappeared within 3 days after mixing, significantly faster than without bacteria. Similar results were obtained both under constant light and dark conditions. This report is the first describing that the cell division and density of symbiotic algae of P. bursaria are controlled by the host's nutritional conditions during early infection.
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