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The role of the cytoskeleton in biomineralisation in haptophyte algae
Durak, G.M.; Brownlee, C.; Wheeler, G.L. (2017). The role of the cytoskeleton in biomineralisation in haptophyte algae. NPG Scientific Reports 7(1): 12 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Durak, G.M.
  • Brownlee, C., more
  • Wheeler, G.L.

    The production of calcium carbonate by coccolithophores (haptophytes) contributes significantly to global biogeochemical cycling. The recent identification of a silicifying haptophyte, Prymnesium neolepis, has provided new insight into the evolution of biomineralisation in this lineage. However, the cellular mechanisms of biomineralisation in both calcifying and silicifying haptophytes remain poorly understood. To look for commonalities between these two biomineralisation systems in haptophytes, we have determined the role of actin and tubulin in the formation of intracellular biomineralised scales in the coccolithophore, Coccolithus braarudii and in P. neolepis. We find that disruption of the actin network interferes with secretion of the biomineralised elements in both C. braarudii and P. neolepis. In contrast, disruption of the microtubule network does not prevent secretion of the silica scales in P. neolepis but results in production of abnormally small silica scales and also results in the increased formation of malformed coccoliths in C. braarudii. We conclude that the cytoskeleton plays a crucial role in biomineralisation in both silicifying and calcifying haptophytes. There are some important similarities in the contribution of the cytoskeleton to these different forms of biomineralisation, suggesting that common cellular mechanisms may have been recruited to perform similar roles in both lineages.

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