The end to being single – for green algae

Bacterial marginolactones lead to the aggregation of algal cells to gloeocapsoids

| by Christine Vogler

Under the influence of marginolactones, two or more cells of the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii form so-called gloeocapsoids that are surrounded by an outer matrix. Source: Mario Krespach/Leibniz-HKI.

Marginolactones – natural products from soil bacteria – trigger the formation of a previously unknown multicellular state for the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, which usually is unicellular. The emergence of multicellular organisms represents an essential step in the development of animals and plants. But how did unicellular organisms become permanently multicellular? A possible piece of the puzzle of these complex processes has now been deciphered by a research team from Jena and Leipzig.

Original publication

Krespach MKC, Stroe MC, Flak M, Komor AJ, Nietzsche S, Sasso S, Hertweck C, Brakhage AA (2021) Bacterial marginolactones trigger formation of algal gloeocapsoids, protective aggregates on the verge of multicellularity. PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.2100892118


Axel A. Brakhage
Michal Flak
Christian Hertweck
Anna Komor
Mario Krespach
Maria Stroe

Science communication & accreditation

Friederike Gawlik
Charlotte Fuchs


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