The distribution of DNA content of symbiotic Chlorella algae freshly isolated from green hydra was compared with that of cultured Chlorella of the NC64A strain, using flow cytometry. In nonlogarithmic cultures of NC64A most cells had accumulated in G1 phase, while in logarithmic cultures a peak containing cells in S phase and mitosis could be distinguished from the larger G1 peak. However, symbiotic algae showed a single broad peak in which there was no clear distinction between G1 and S phase/mitosis. When hydra were starved for a prolonged period, inhibiting host cell and algal division, the DNA content of the symbiotic algae slowly increased, and the number of daughter cells produced after a single feeding increased with the length of the preceding period of starvation. This suggests that symbiotic algae are able to cycle slowly through S phase, but unless the host is fed they cannot traverse into mitosis and complete the cell division cycle. No significant difference in cell size was found between algae producing either four or eight daughter cells after 1-day- or 22-day-starved hydra were fed, suggesting that algal cell size did not determine the number of daughter cells produced. Instead, this may be dependent upon the length of time the cell had spent in S phase prior to receiving the, as yet unknown, stimulus to enter into mitosis.

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