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Ann Bot. 2009 Nov;104(6):1045-56. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcp193. Epub 2009 Aug 19.

The distribution of cell wall polymers during antheridium development and spermatogenesis in the Charophycean green alga, Chara corallina.

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  • 1Department of Biology and Skidmore Microscopy Imaging Center, Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, USA. ddomoz@skidmore.ed



The production of multicellular gametangia in green plants represents an early evolutionary development that is found today in all land plants and advanced clades of the Charophycean green algae. The processing of cell walls is an integral part of this morphogenesis yet very little is known about cell wall dynamics in early-divergent green plants such as the Charophycean green algae. This study represents a comprehensive analysis of antheridium development and spermatogenesis in the green alga, Chara corallina.


Microarrays of cell wall components and immunocytochemical methods were employed in order to analyse cell wall macromolecules during antheridium development.


Cellulose and pectic homogalacturonan epitopes were detected throughout all cell types of the developing antheridium including the unique cell wall protuberances of the shield cells and the cell walls of sperm cell initials. Arabinogalactan protein epitopes were distributed only in the epidermal shield cell layers and anti-xyloglucan antibody binding was only observed in the capitulum region that initially yields the sperm filaments. During the terminal stage of sperm development, no cell wall polymers recognized by the probes employed were found on the scale-covered sperm cells.


Antheridium development in C. corallina is a rapid event that includes the production of cell walls that contain polymers similar to those found in land plants. While pectic and cellulosic epitopes are ubiquitous in the antheridium, the distribution of arabinogalactan protein and xyloglucan epitopes is restricted to specific zones. Spermatogenesis also includes a major switch in the production of extracellular matrix macromolecules from cell walls to scales, the latter being a primitive extracellular matrix characteristic of green plants.

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