Multigene Phylogeny of the Green Lineage Reveals the Origin and Diversification of Land Plants
Study of charophycean green algae, including the Coleochaetales, may shed light on the evolutionary history of characters they share with their land plant relatives. We examined the tubulin cytoskeleton during mitosis, cytokinesis, and growth in members of the Coleochaetales with diverse morphologies to determine if phragmoplasts occurred throughout this order and to identify microtubular patterns associated with cell growth. Species representing three subgroups of Coleochaete and its sister genus Chaetosphaeridium were studied. Cytokinesis involving a phragmoplast was found in the four taxa examined. Differential interference contrast microscopy of living cells confirmed that polar cytokinesis like that described in the model flowering plant Arabidopsis occurred in all species when the forming cell plate traversed a vacuole. Calcofluor labeling of cell walls demonstrated directed growth from particular cell regions of all taxa. Electron microscopy confirmed directed growth in the unusual growth pattern of Chaetosphaeridium. All four species exhibited unordered microtubule patterns associated with diffuse growth in early cell expansion. In subsequent elongating cells, Coleochaete irregularis Pringsheim and Chaetosphaeridium globosum (Nordstedt) Klebahn exhibited tubulin cytoskeleton arrays corresponding to growth patterns associated with tip growth in plants, fungi, and other charophycean algae. Hoop-shaped microtubules frequently associated with diffuse growth of elongating cells in plants were not observed in any of these species. Presence of phragmoplasts in the diverse species studied supports the hypothesis that cytokinesis involving a phragmoplast originated in a common ancestor of the Coleochaetales, and possibly in a common ancestor of Charales, Coleochaetales, Zygnematales, and plants.