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Arrested development in Fucus spiralis (Phaeophyceae) germlings exposed to copper

  • PETER R. BOND (a1), MURRAY T. BROWN (a1), ROY M. MOATE (a1), MARTHA GLEDHILL (a2), STEPHEN J. HILL (a2) and MALCOLM NIMMO (a2)...

Abstract

Exposure of Fucus spiralis germlings to precise copper concentrations (0 to 844 nM Cu2+) in chemically defined medium demonstrated a relationship between ultrastructural changes and growth retardation with increasing copper concentration. Electron-translucent vesicles, present in ova, which normally disappear after fertilization, accumulated in germlings exposed to Cu2+ above 10·6 nM, suggesting that copper may inhibit a metabolic pathway involved in cell wall formation which is initiated by fertilization. No membrane damage was observed during the exposure period. During a post-exposure period in copper-free medium, recovery occurred (rhizoid extension, apical hair formation) in germlings previously exposed to concentrations below 106 nM Cu2+ and electron-translucent vesicles became granular and disappeared. It is proposed that the electron-translucent vesicles contain a cell wall precursor and that copper inhibits its incorporation into the cell wall, preventing growth and development of the zygote.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to: Peter Bond, Plymouth Electron Microscopy Centre, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK. Tel/fax: +44 (0) 1752 233092. e-mail: pbond@plymouth.ac.uk

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