Evolution of zygomycetous spindle pole bodies: Evidence from Coemansia reversa mitosis

David J. McLaughlin, Rosanne A. Healy, Gail J. Celio, Robert Roberson, T. K Arun Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Premise of the study: The earliest eukaryotes were likely fl agellates with a centriole that nucleates the centrosome, the microtubule-organizing center (MTOC) for nuclear division. The MTOC in higher fungi, which lack fl agella, is the spindle pole body (SPB). Can we detect stages in centrosome evolution leading to the diversity of SPB forms observed in terrestrial fungi? Zygomycetous fungi, which consist of saprobes, symbionts, and parasites of animals and plants, are critical in answering the question, but nuclear division has been studied in only two of six clades. • Methods: Ultrastructure of mitosis was studied in Coemansia revers a (Kickxellomycotina) germlings using cryofi xation or chemical fi xation. Character evolution was assessed by parsimony analysis, using a phylogenetic tree assembled from multigene analyses. • Key results: At interphase the SPB consisted of two components: a cytoplasmic, electron-dense sphere containing a cylindrical structure with microtubules oriented nearly perpendicular to the nucleus and an intranuclear component appressed to the nuclear envelope. Markham’s rotation was used to reinforce the image of the cylindrical structure and determine the probable number of microtubules as nine. The SPB duplicated early in mitosis and separated on the intact nuclear envelope. Nuclear division appears to be intranuclear with spindle and kinetochore microtubules interspersed with condensed chromatin. • Conclusions: This is the sixth type of zygomycetous SPB, and the third type that suggests a modifi ed centriolar component. Coemansia reversa retains SPB character states from an ancestral centriole intermediate between those of fungi with motile cells and other zygomycetous fungi and Dikarya.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-717
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015


  • Centriole
  • Centrosome
  • Fungi
  • Nuclear division
  • Spindle pole body
  • Ultrastructure
  • Zygomycetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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