Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 35775951
Link to DOI – 10.1093/plphys/kiac321
Plant Physiol 2022 Oct; 190(3): 1927-1940
Multicellular organisms implement a set of reactions involving signaling and cooperation between different types of cells. Unicellular organisms, on the other hand, activate defense systems that involve collective behaviors between individual organisms. In the unicellular model alga Chlamydomonas (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii), the existence and the function of collective behaviors mechanisms in response to stress remain mostly at the level of the formation of small structures called palmelloids. Here, we report the characterization of a mechanism of abiotic stress response that Chlamydomonas can trigger to form massive multicellular structures. We showed that these aggregates constitute an effective bulwark within which the cells are efficiently protected from the toxic environment. We generated a family of mutants that aggregate spontaneously, the socializer (saz) mutants, of which saz1 is described here in detail. We took advantage of the saz mutants to implement a large-scale multiomics approach that allowed us to show that aggregation is not the result of passive agglutination, but rather genetic reprogramming and substantial modification of the secretome. The reverse genetic analysis we conducted allowed us to identify positive and negative regulators of aggregation and to make hypotheses on how this process is controlled in Chlamydomonas.