Indexed on: 05 Mar '13Published on: 05 Mar '13Published in: Journal of Plant Research
Multicellularity arose several times in evolution of eukaryotes. The volvocine algae have full range of colonial organization from unicellular to colonies, and thus these algae are well-known models for examining the evolution and mechanisms of multicellularity. Gonium pectorale is a multicellular species of Volvocales and is thought to be one of the first small colonial organisms among the volvocine algae. In these algae, a cytoplasmic bridge is one of the key traits that arose during the evolution of multicellularity. Here, we observed the inversion process and the cytoplasmic bridges in G. pectorale using time-lapse, fluorescence, and electron microscopy. The cytoplasmic bridges were located in the middle region of the cell in 2-, 4-, 8-, and 16-celled stages and in inversion stages. However, there were no cytoplasmic bridges in the mature adult stage. Cytoplasmic bridges and cortical microtubules in G. pectorale suggest that a mechanism of kinesin-microtubule machinery similar to that in other volvocine algae is responsible for inversion in this species.