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Ultrastructure of Mucocysts and Pellicle of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Kiyoteru Tokuyasu and Otto H. Scherbaum
The Journal of Cell Biology
Vol. 27, No. 1 (Oct., 1965), pp. 67-81
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1604765
Page Count: 15
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Ultrastructure of Mucocysts and Pellicle of Tetrahymena pyriformis
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Abstract

Tetrahymena pyriformis GL was fixed with glutaraldehyde and/or OsO4 for a study of cytoplasmic ultrastructure. Many small vacuoles 0.05 to 0.5 μ in diameter were found to contain each a dense particle enveloped by a limiting membrane. This membrane is continuous with the membrane of the vacuole. The particles are irregular in shape and size, but similar to the mucocysts in the appearance of the matrix. It is suggested that they are the first morphologically distinguishable stages in the development of mucocysts. In the course of this development, amorphous material becomes crystalline with a longitudinal period of 150 A and a lateral period of 100 A. The mature mucocysts are rather uniform in size and have a spheroidal shape. During discharge, the crystalline pattern disappears and the mucocysts assume a spherical configuration. The inner limiting membrane of a mucocyst seems to disintegrate during the process of discharge while the outer membrane becomes continuous with the outermost pellicular membrane; the inner pellicular membrane is continuous with the cytoplasmic membrane. Rows of few to 15 or more microtubules were found either between the cytoplasmic membrane and the ectoplasmic layer (longitudinal fibrils) or underneath the ectoplasmic layer (transverse fibrils). The outer and inner pellicular membranes are uniformly spaced and connected by "cross-bridges." Details of these structures are described.

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