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Zinssmeister, Carmen; Keupp, Helmut; Tischendorf, Gilbert; Kaulbars, Freya and Gottschling, Marc (2013): Ultrastructure of calcareous dinophytes (Thoracosphaeraceae, Peridiniales) with a focus on vacuolar crystal-like particles.
In: PLOS ONE 8(1), e54038 [PDF, 1MB]

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Biomineralization in calcareous dinophytes (Thoracosphaeracaea, Peridiniales) takes place in coccoid cells and is presently poorly understood. Vacuolar crystal-like particles as well as collection sites within the prospective calcareous shell may play a crucial role during this process at the ultrastructural level. Using transmission electron microscopy, we investigated the ultrastructure of coccoid cells at an early developmental stage in fourteen calcareous dinophyte strains (corresponding to at least ten species of Calciodinellum, Calcigonellum, Leonella, Pernambugia, Scrippsiella, and Thoracosphaera). The shell of the coccoid cells consisted either of one (Leonella, Thoracosphaera) or two matrices (Scrippsiella and its relatives) of unknown element composition, whereas calcite is deposited in the only or the outer layer, respectively. We observed crystal-like particles in cytoplasmic vacuoles in cells of nine of the strains investigated and assume that they are widespread among calcareous dinophytes. However, similar structures are also found outside the Thoracosphaeraceae, and we postulate an evolutionarily old physiological pathway (possibly involved in detoxification) that later was specialized for calcification. We aim to contribute to a deeper knowledge of the biomineralization process in calcareous dinophytes.

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