These authors contributed equally.
Gene silencing in Fucus embryos: developmental consequences of RNAi-mediated cytoskeletal disruption
Article first published online: 7 AUG 2013
© 2013 Phycological Society of America
Journal of Phycology
Volume 49, Issue 5, pages 819–829, October 2013
How to Cite
Farnham, G., Strittmatter, M., Coelho, S., Cock, J. M., Brownlee, C. (2013), Gene silencing in Fucus embryos: developmental consequences of RNAi-mediated cytoskeletal disruption. Journal of Phycology, 49: 819–829. doi: 10.1111/jpy.12096
- Issue published online: 3 OCT 2013
- Article first published online: 7 AUG 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 28 JUN 2013 07:27AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 JUN 2013
- Manuscript Received: 30 DEC 2012
Brown algae (Phaeophyceae) are an important algal class that play a range of key ecological roles. They are often important components of rocky shore communities. A number of members of the Fucales and Ectocarpales have provided models for the study of multicellular evolution, reproductive biology and polarized development. Indeed the fucoid algae exhibit the unusual feature of inducible embryo polarization, allowing many classical studies of polarity induction. The potential of further studies of brown algae in these important areas has been increasingly hindered by the absence of tools for manipulation of gene expression that would facilitate further mechanistic analysis and gene function studies at a molecular level. The aim of this study was to establish a method that would allow the analysis of gene function through RNAi-mediated gene knockdown. We show that injection of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) corresponding to an α-tubulin gene into Fucus serratus Linnaeus zygotes induces the loss of a large proportion of the microtubule cytoskeleton, leading to growth arrest and disruption of cell division. Injection of dsRNA targeting β-actin led to reduced rhizoid growth, enlarged cells and the failure to develop apical hair cells. The silencing effect on actin expression was maintained for 3 months. These results indicate that the Fucus embryo possesses a functional RNA interference system that can be exploited to investigate gene function during embryogenesis.