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Protoplasma. 2001;216(1-2):71-4.

Cellulose in the house of the appendicularian Oikopleura rufescens.

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Wood Research Institute, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan.


By electron diffraction analysis, highly crystalline cellulose I beta was found in the house (a special structure in which the tunicate lives) of the appendicularian Oikopleura rufescens. Cellulose microfibrils 20 nm in width were observed in a random array or highly organized with rectangular spacing of 2 to 10 microns in the house. The bundled cellulose microfibrils formed in the inlet filters, which are highly ordered meshwork structures. This paper provides the first account of the existence of cellulose in the house of an appendicularian. Our findings showed that the house and tunic are homologous tissues among the tunicates, and that the common ancestor of the tunicates (ascidians, thaliaceans, and appendicularians) already possessed cellulose-biosynthetic ability.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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