• cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers;
  • DNA damage;
  • germination;
  • hyaline cells;
  • kelp;
  • Laminaria digitata;
  • Laminariales;
  • meiospore;
  • paraphysis cell;
  • phlorotannin;
  • physode;
  • plastids;
  • sorus;
  • ultraviolet radiation

To study the effect of different radiation conditions on sporogenesis of Laminaria digitata (Huds.) J. V. Lamour., excised disks were induced to form sporangia under PAR (P), PAR + ultraviolet-A (UVA) (PA), and PAR + UVA + ultraviolet-B (UVB) (PAB) conditions in the laboratory. Vitality of meiospores, released from sori induced under different radiation conditions in the laboratory and from sori of wild sporophytes acclimated to in situ solar radiation in the presence and absence of ultraviolet radiation (UVR), was measured in terms of their germination capacity. Sorus induction in disks of laboratory-grown sporophytes was not hampered under light supplemented with UVR, and sorus area was not significantly different among P, PA, and PAB. Vitality and germination rate of meiospores released from sori induced under different radiation treatments was comparable. Likewise, screening of UVR of the natural solar radiation did not promote higher germination rates of meiospores released from wild sporophytes. Germination rates were, however, higher in meiospores released from laboratory-induced sori compared to sori of wild sporophytes. Higher DNA damage (formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, CPDs) was observed in laboratory-grown nonsorus compared to sorus tissue, while CPDs were nondetectable in both sorus and nonsorus tissue of wild sporophytes. To explain the apparent protection of developing meiospores and the unexpected UV resistance of soral tissue, concurrent anatomical investigations of sporogenic tissue were performed. We observed the previously unreported existence of two types of sterile paraphysis cells. One type of paraphysis cells, the most frequent type, contained several red-fluorescing plastids. The other type, less frequently occurring, was completely filled with substances emitting blue fluorescence under violet excitation, presumably brown algal phenolic compounds (phlorotannins). Cells of this type were irregularly scattered within the sorus and did not contain red-fluorescing plastids. Meiospore-containing sporangia were positioned embedded between both types of paraphysis cells. In vegetative tissue, blue autofluorescence was observed only in injured parts of the blade. Results of our study suggest that the sorus structure with phlorotannins localized in the specialized paraphysis cells may be able to screen harmful UVR and protect UV-sensitive meiospores inside the sporangia.