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Microtubules and movement in the archigregarine, Selenidium fallax

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The archigregarine, Selenidium, is parasitic in the digestive tracts of some polychaete worms. The trophozoites of Selenidium are worm-like in appearance, and are attached by one end to the intestinal epithelium of the host, while the remainder of the organism performs rhythmic bending movements, reminiscent of nematode worms. The trophozoites have a multilayered, longitudinally folded pellicle, and beneath this are longitudinally oriented microtubules, arranged in precise fashions. The arrangements of both the pellicle, and the microtubules change during the bending movements. Furthermore, if trophozoites are treated with the drug colchicine, the sub-pellicular microtubules are destroyed, the patterns of pellicular folding are altered, and the trophozoites cease to move. The contribution of the pellicle and the microtubules to the characteristic movements of the trophozoites is evaluated and discussed.

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We thank Miss Sandra Nickels for technical assistance, and Professor H. C. Macgregor for reading the manuscript critically. Dr. Stebbings acknowledges the award of an EMBO Fellowship, and an S.R.C. Research Grant.

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Stebbings, H., Boe, G.S. & Garlick, P.R. Microtubules and movement in the archigregarine, Selenidium fallax . Cell Tissue Res. 148, 331–345 (1974).

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Key words

  • Microtubules
  • Movement
  • Selenidium
  • Pellicle
  • Light and electron microscopy