Development of macrociliary cells in Beroë. II. Formation of macrocilia. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Two patterns of macrociliary growth occur in Beroë. Early differentiation described previously (Tamm & Tamm, 1988) leads to the first pattern of ciliogenesis. A tuft of 10-20 single cilia initially grows out from basal bodies that have migrated to the cell surface and are axially aligned. Ciliary membranes then begin to fuse along their length, except at the base, resulting in thicker groups of cilia on each cell. Progressive fusion of ciliary membranes, together with addition and elongation of new axonemes, finally results in mature macrocilia, 5 microns thick and 40 microns long, enclosed by a single membrane distally. The second pattern of ciliogenesis begins with the simultaneous appearance of several hundred ciliary buds on the apical surface. The short cilia possess individual membranes with bulbous tips, and are not axially aligned. Subsequent elongation is accompanied by progressive fusion of neighbouring ciliary membranes, except at the base, leading to flat-topped 'stumps' surrounded by a single membrane distally. Further elongation then proceeds asymmetrically within each stump. Axonemes on the aboral side of the macrocilium stop elongating, while those towards the oral side increase progressively in height, resulting in a slanted profile. Basal feet and central-pair microtubules are now uniformly aligned. Unequal elongation of axonemes on the oral and aboral sides of the macrocilium continues until the macrocilium resembles a lobster's claw, with a long slender shaft projecting from a broad base. Finally, the polarity of unequal growth reverses: the shorter axonemes on the aboral side elongate and almost catch up with the longer ones on the opposite side, resulting in a mature macrocilium of uniform diameter. The unusual membrane architecture of the macrocilium is thus a consequence of selective fusion of the distal regions of originally separate ciliary membranes. The polarized, asymmetrical growth of axonemes on the two sides of the macrocilium illustrates a remarkable control of microtubule elongation at the subcellular level.

publication date

  • January 1988