The cell wall of the marine chrysophycean alga Pleurochrysis scherfellii is composed of distinct wall fragments embedded in a gelatinous mass. The latter is a polysaccharide of pectic character which is rich in galactose and ribose. These wall fragments are identified as scales. They have been isolated and purified from the vegetative mother cell walls after zoospore formation. Their ultrastructure is described in an electron microscope study combining sectioning, freeze-etch, and negative staining techniques. The scales consist of a layer of concentrically arranged microfibrils (ribbons with cross-sections of 12 to 25 x 25 to 40 A) and underlying radial fibrils of similar dimensions. Such a network-plate is densely coated with particles which are assumed to be identical to the pectic component. The microfibrils are resistant to strong alkaline treatment and have been identified as cellulose by different methods, including sugar analysis after total hydrolysis, proton resonance spectroscopical examination (NMR spectroscopy) of the benzoylated product, and diverse histochemical tests. The formation and secretion of the scales can be followed along the maturing Golgi cisternae starting from a pronounced dilated "polymerization center" as a completely intracisternal process which ends in the exocytotic extrusion of the scales. The scales reveal the very same ultrastructure within the Golgi cisternae as they do in the cell wall. The present finding represents the first evidence on cellulose formation by the Golgi apparatus and is discussed in relation to a basic scheme for cellulose synthesis in plant cells in general.

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