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Origins of multicellularity: All in the family
Date:7/8/2010

I>Chlamydomonas. Each mature Volvox colony is composed of numerous flagellated cells similar to Chlamydomonas, which are embedded in the surface of a spheroid of elaborately patterned extracellular matrix (ECM) that is clearly related to the Chlamydomonas cell wall. Maybe not surprisingly, the difference in size and complexity between the Volvox extracellular matrix and Chlamydomonas cell wall is mirrored by a dramatic increase in the number and variety of Volvox genes for two major ECM protein families, pherophorins and VMPs.

Additionally, Umen and his collaborators identified an increase in the number of cyclin D proteins in Volvox, which govern cell division and may be necessary to ensure the complex regulation of cell division during Volvox development. Last but not least, Volvox adapted a few of its existing genes to acquire novel functions. Members of the pherophorin family, for one, not only help build the extracellular matrix; some subtypes evolved into a diffusible hormonal trigger for sexual differentiation.


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Contact: Susan Trebach
strebach@salk.edu
858-453-410-02070
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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