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Polarization of brown algal zygotes
Bogaert, K.A.; Zakka, E.E.; Coelho, S.M.; De Clerck, O. (2023). Polarization of brown algal zygotes. Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology 134: 90-102.
In: Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology. ACADEMIC PRESS LTD- ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD: London. ISSN 1084-9521, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Dictyota J.V.Lamouroux, 1809 [WoRMS]; Ectocarpus Lyngbye, 1819 [WoRMS]; Fucus Linnaeus, 1753 [WoRMS]; Saccharina Stackhouse, 1809 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Asymmetric cell division; Polarity; Attachment; Cell polarization; Symmetry breaking; Dictyota; Ectocarpus; Fucus; Saccharina

Authors  Top 
  • Bogaert, K.A., more
  • Zakka, E.E., more
  • Coelho, S.M.
  • De Clerck, O., more


    Brown algae are a group of multicellular, heterokont algae that have convergently evolved developmental complexity that rivals that of embryophytes, animals or fungi. Early in development, brown algal zygotes establish a basal and an apical pole, which will become respectively the basal system (holdfast) and the apical system (thallus) of the adult alga. Brown algae are interesting models for understanding the establishment of cell polarity in a broad evolutionary context, because they exhibit a large diversity of life cycles, reproductive strategies and, importantly, their zygotes are produced in large quantities free of parental tissue, with symmetry breaking and asymmetric division taking place in a highly synchronous manner. This review describes the current knowledge about the establishment of the apical-basal axis in the model brown seaweeds Ectocarpus, Dictyota, Fucus and Saccharina, highlighting the advantages and specific interests of each system. Ectocarpus is a genetic model system that allows access to the molecular basis of early development and life-cycle control over apical-basal polarity. The oogamous brown alga Fucus, together with emerging comparative models Dictyota and Saccharina, emphasize the diversity of strategies of symmetry breaking in determining a cell polarity vector in brown algae. A comparison with symmetry-breaking mechanisms in land plants, animals and fungi, reveals that the one-step zygote polarisation of Fucus compares well to Saccharomyces budding and Arabidopsis stomata development, while the two-phased symmetry breaking in the Dictyota zygote compares to Schizosaccharomyces fission, the Caenorhabditis anterior-posterior zygote polarisation and Arabidopsis prolate pollen polarisation. The apical-basal patterning in Saccharina zygotes on the other hand, may be seen as analogous to that of land plants. Overall, brown algae have the potential to bring exciting new information on how a single cell gives rise to an entire complex body plan.

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