Genotype versus phenotype variability in Chlorella and Micractinium (Chlorophyta, Trebouxiophyceae)

W Luo, S Pflugmacher, Thomas Pröschold, N Walz, L Krienitz

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Abstract

The most recent revision of the genus Chlorella, based on biochemical and SSU rDNA analyses, suggested a reduction to a set of four "true" spherical Chlorefla species, while a growing number of morphologically different species such as Micractinium (formerly Micractiniaceae) were found to cluster within the clade of "true" Chlorefla. In this study, the generic concept in Chlorellaceae to Chlorefla and Micractinium was evaluated by means of combined SSU and ITS-2 rDNA sequence analyses and biotests to induce development of bristles on the cell wall. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of Chlorefla and Micractinium strains confirmed their separation into two different genera. In addition, non-homoplasious synapomorphies (NHS) and compensatory base changes (CBC) in the secondary structures of SSU and ITS-2 rDNA sequences were found for both genera using this approach. The Micractinium clade can be differentiated into three different genotypes. Using culture medium of the rotifer Brachionus calyciflorus, phenotypic plasticity in Chlorefla and Micractinium was studied. Non-bristled Micractinium cells developed bristles during incubation with Brachionus culture medium, whereas Chlorella did not produce bristles. Grazing experiments with Brachionus showed the rotifer preferred to feed on non-bristled cells. The dominance of colonies versus solitary cells in the Micractinium culture was not correlated with the "Brachionus factor". These results suggest that morphological characteristics like formation of bristles represent phenotypic adaptations to the conditions in the ecosystem. (c) 2006 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-333
Number of pages19
JournalProtist
Volume157
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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Keywords

  • COLONY FORMATION
  • TAXONOMY
  • SCENEDESMUS
  • ALGAE
  • RIBOSOMAL-RNA
  • Microbiology
  • SPECIES CONCEPT
  • SEQUENCE
  • RESPONSES
  • DAPHNIA
  • RNA SECONDARY STRUCTURE

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