Alex Sivan, Jean‐Claude ‐C Thomas, Jean‐Paul ‐P Dubacq, Dorit van Moppes, Shoshana (Malis) Arad

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10 Scopus citations


Protoplasts from two green pigment mutants of Porphyridium sp. (UTEX 637) containing a low phycoerythrin level were fused by exposure to polyethylene glycol (MW 6000) combined with a short heat shock (45° C, 5 min). Following regeneration on agar plates, red colonies arose in which complementation of the phycoerythrin deficiency had occurred. The complementation frequency was estimated to be 0.2%. Eight progeny showing red pigmentation were isolated and purified by consecutive transfers on agar plates. Characterization of the fusion progeny revealed that their phycobiliprotein and chlorophyll contents per cell were higher than those of their parental mutant strains and, in most strains, similar to that of the wild type. The fusion products proved to be stable over many growth cycles. The DNA content of the wild type and of the parental mutant strains was about 0.05 pg‐cell−1. Fusion progeny strains showed a variable DNA content: a few fusants contained the same amount of DNA as the wild type and the parental strains, while others had about 50% more DNA per cell. The DNA content of one of the progeny strains (CF1c) was double that of the wild type (0.1 pg. cell−1). Cells of this fusion progeny contained one nucleus per cell, which suggests that nuclear fusion and the formation of a stable diploid followed cell fusion. Analysis of phycobilisome components of CF1c revealed complementation of linker polypeptides associated with phycoerythrin (γ subunits). CF1c contained, like the wild‐type strain, four linker polypeptides; all of these were absent in one parental strain and one was absent in the second. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of protoplast fusion, formation of somatic hybrids, and the apparent completion of a parasexual cycle in a red microalga.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • Porphyridium
  • Rhodophyta
  • genetic markers
  • microalgae
  • pigment mutants
  • protoplast fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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