Ca(2+) signals coordinate zygotic polarization and cell cycle progression in the brown alga Fucus serratus

John Bothwell, J. Kisielewska, M.J. Genner, M.R. McAinsh, C. Brownlee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Zygotes of the fucoid brown algae provide excellent models for addressing fundamental questions about zygotic symmetry breaking. Although the acquisition of polarity is tightly coordinated with the timing and orientation of the first asymmetric division-with zygotes having to pass through a G1/S-phase checkpoint before the polarization axis can be fixed -the mechanisms behind the interdependence of polarization and cell cycle progression remain unclear. In this study, we combine in vivo Ca(2+) imaging, single cell monitoring of S-phase progression and multivariate analysis of high-throughput intracellular Ca(2+) buffer loading to demonstrate that Ca(2+) signals coordinate polarization and cell cycle progression in the Fucus serratus zygote. Consistent with earlier studies on this organism, and in contrast to animal models, we observe no fast Ca(2+) wave following fertilization. Rather, we show distinct slow localized Ca(2+) elevations associated with both fertilization and S-phase progression, and we show that both S-phase and zygotic polarization are dependent on pre-S-phase Ca(2+) increases. Surprisingly, this Ca(2+) requirement cannot be explained by co-dependence on a single G1/ S-phase checkpoint, as S phase and zygotic polarization are differentially sensitive to pre-S-phase Ca(2+) elevations and can be uncoupled. Furthermore, subsequent cell cycle progression through M phase is independent of localized actin polymerization and zygotic polarization. This absence of a morphogenesis checkpoint, together with the observed Ca(2+)dependences of S phase and polarization, show that the regulation of zygotic division in the brown algae differs from that in other eukaryotic model systems, such as yeast and Drosophila.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2173-2181
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Early online date14 May 2008
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Ca(2+) signals coordinate zygotic polarization and cell cycle progression in the brown alga Fucus serratus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this