Journal Article

Variation in Storage α-Glucans of the Porphyridiales (Rhodophyta)

Takahiro Shimonaga, Mai Konishi, Yasunori Oyama, Shoko Fujiwara, Aya Satoh, Naoko Fujita, Christophe Colleoni, Alain Buléon, Jean-Luc Putaux, Steven G. Ball, Akiko Yokoyama, Yoshiaki Hara, Yasunori Nakamura and Mikio Tsuzuki

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 49, issue 1, pages 103-116
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
Variation in Storage α-Glucans of the Porphyridiales (Rhodophyta)

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Storage glucans were analyzed in the Porphyridiales which include the most primitive and phylogenetically diverged species in the Rhodophyta, to understand early evolution of the glucan structure in the Rhodophyta. The storage glucans of both Galdieria sulphuraria and Cyanidium caldarium consisted of glycogen, while those of Rhodosorus marinus, Porphyridium purpureum, P. sordidum and Rhodella violacea could be defined as semi-amylopectin. X-ray diffraction analysis of the glucans demonstrated variation in the crystalline structure: the patterns in P. purpureum and R. violacea were of A- and B-types, respectively, while α-glucans of R. marinus and P. sordidum displayed structures with lower crystallinity. Electron microscopic observations indicated that the α-glucans of P. sordidum consisted of two kinds of granules; a minor component of more dense granules with crystalline leaflets and a major component of softer ones without crystalline structure. Gel permeation chromatography showed that all the species containing the semi-amylopectin-type glucans also contained amylose, although the relative amounts of this fraction were different depending on the species. Our results are consistent with two distinct evolution scenarios defined either by the independent acquisition of semi-crystalline starch-like structures in the different plant lineages or more probably by the loss of starch and reversion to glycogen synthesis in cyanidian algae growing in hot and acid environments.

Keywords: Amylose; Floridean starch; Glycogen; Porphyridiales; Rhodophyta; Semi-amylopectin

Journal Article.  7563 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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