Lignin-Like Compounds and Sporopollenin Coleochaete, an Algal Model for Land Plant Ancestry

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Science  28 Jul 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4916, pp. 399-401
DOI: 10.1126/science.245.4916.399


Unusual cell wall structure and resistance to microbial degradation led to an investigation of resistant biopolymers in Coleochaete (Chlorophyta, class Charophyceae), a green alga on the evolutionary lineage that led to land plants. In Coleochaete that are undergoing sexual reproduction, vegetative cell walls contain material similar to lignin, a substance generally thought absent from green algae, and the zygote wall includes sporopollenin. Knowledge of chemically resistant compounds in Coleochaete may facilitate interpretation of the fossil record. Placental transfer cells in Coleochaete orbicularis and in the hornwort Anthoceros survive acetolysis and contain lignin-like compounds, implying a close relation between these taxa.

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