Cell Biology

Life After Life

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Science  08 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5523, pp. 1799
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5523.1799c

Algae are composed of a branched community of giant multinucleate cells. As in all walks of life, algal cells may sustain life-threatening injuries such as a breach of cellular integrity. Kim et al. describe a process by which damaged giant cells of the green alga Bryopsis plumosa can regenerate multiple small cells from extruded protoplasm. In seawater, the extruded intracellular organelles coalesce, swirling around to rapidly become covered by a gelatinous envelope composed of polysaccharides. Inside this envelope, which appears to act as a temporary cell membrane, a new lipid-based membrane forms over the subsequent 9 to 12 hours. This rescue process appears to be a very efficient method of recovering from a potentially fatal situation—from a single damaged algal branch, approximately 1000 cells can form, 40% of which can go on to produce new plants. — SMH

J. Cell Sci.114, 2009 (2001).

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