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Decoupling of Nuclear Division Cycles and Cell Size during the Coenocytic Growth of the Ichthyosporean Sphaeroforma arctica

AuthorsOndracka, Andrej; Dudin, Omaya; Ruiz-Trillo, Iñaki
Issue Date18-Jun-2018
CitationCurrent Biology 28(12): 1964-1969 (2018)
AbstractCoordination of the cell division cycle with the growth of the cell is critical to achieve cell size homeostasis [1]. Mechanisms coupling the cell division cycle with cell growth have been described across diverse eukaryotic taxa [2, 3, 4], but little is known about how these processes are coordinated in organisms that undergo more complex life cycles, such as coenocytic growth. Coenocytes (multinucleate cells formed by sequential nuclear divisions without cytokinesis) are commonly found across the eukaryotic kingdom, including in animal and plant tissues and several lineages of unicellular eukaryotes [5]. Among the organisms that form coenocytes are ichthyosporeans, a lineage of unicellular holozoans that are of significant interest due to their phylogenetic placement as one of the closest relatives of animals [6]. Here, we characterize the coenocytic cell division cycle in the ichthyosporean Sphaeroforma arctica. We observe that, in laboratory conditions, S. arctica cells undergo a uniform and easily synchronizable coenocytic cell cycle, reaching up to 128 nuclei per cell before cellularization and release of daughter cells. Cycles of nuclear division occur synchronously within the coenocyte and in regular time intervals (11–12 hr). We find that the growth of cell volume is dependent on concentration of nutrients in the media; in contrast, the rate of nuclear division cycles is constant over a range of nutrient concentrations. Together, the results suggest that nuclear division cycles in the coenocytic growth of S. arctica are driven by a timer, which ensures periodic and synchronous nuclear cycles independent of the cell size and growth.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.074
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