Wetherbee R., Jackson C.J., Repetti S.I., Clementson L.A., Costa J.F., van de Meene A., Crawford S. & Verbruggen H.
The golden paradox - a new heterokont lineage with chloroplasts surrounded by two membranes
Journal of Phycology: accepted


A marine, sand-dwelling, golden-brown alga is described from clonal cultures established from a high intertidal pool in southeastern Australia. This tiny, unicellular species, which we call the "golden paradox" (Chrysoparadoxa australica gen. et sp. nov.), is benthic, surrounded by a multilayered cell wall and attached to the substratum by a complex adhesive plug. Each vegetative cell gives rise to a single, naked zoospore with heterokont flagella that settles and may become briefly amoeboid prior to dividing. Daughter cells are initially amoeboid, then either permanently attach and return to the benthic stage or become motile again prior to final settlement. Two deeply lobed chloroplasts occupy opposite ends of the cell and are surrounded by only two membranes. The outer chloroplast membrane is continuous between the two chloroplasts via the outer membrane of the nuclear envelope. Only two membranes occupy the chloroplast-nucleus interface, the inner membrane of the nuclear envelope and the inner chloroplast membrane. A small pyrenoid is found in each chloroplast and closely abuts the nucleus or protrudes into it. It contains an unusual, membrane bound inclusion that stains with SYBR green but is unlikely to be a nucleomorph. Phylogenies inferred from a 10-gene concatenated alignment show an early-branching position within the PX clade. The unusual morphological features and phylogenetic position indicate C. australica should be classified as a new class, Chrysoparadoxophyceae. Despite an atypical plastid, exploration of the C. australica transcriptome revealed typical heterokont protein targeting to the plastid.

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