Members of the Chlamydomonaceae, mostly single-celled green algae, have been shown to contain a crystalline glycoprotein cell wall component. Most of the species examined fall into a class of algae whose walls have an identical crystalline unit cell. Chlorogonium elongatum has been chosen as a representative of this class in order to investigate in more detail its cell wall structure. The alga has a spindleshaped cell wall which retains its asymmetric shape on isolation. Sections from walls fized in the presence of tannic acid clearly reveal a regular subunit monolayer, about 20 nm thick, within the wall. Sodium dodecylsulphate (SDS) polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis shows the presence of at least 2 major glycoprotein species in the wall. Negatively stained purified cell walls demonstrate the crystalline nature of the cell wall. Optical diffraction of bright-field images and direct electron diffraction both give clear diffraction patterns whose spacings extend out to 3 nm and fall on a reciprocal lattice whose vectors describe a 2-dimensional unit cell within the wall 21.5 nm X 7.0 nm and an included angle of 80 degrees. Lattice defects within the cell wall are revealed by both negative staining and surface replication. Through-focal series were used to choose images with the optimal degree of underfocus for image processing. Linear integration and optical filtering of such images gave essentially the same result. A similar image was also obtained by computing the autocorrelation function of the amplitudes in the electron-diffraction pattern and the optical-diffraction pattern of the in-focus image. On the basis of these data a 2-dimensional model of the crystalline cell wall layer is presented.
- © 1976 by Company of Biologists