Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The male gametes of the parasitic protozoan, Lecudina tuzetae, have a motile flagellum with a “6 + O” ultrastructure ‘Schrével and Besse, 1975’. These gametes were isolated from the cysts in which they develop and were observed and photographed under a variety of conditions. The flagella beat continuously, without stopping and starting, with a beat period of about 2 sec. They can beat in solutions whose viscosities are greater than 0.5 Nsm-2 (l Nsm-2 = 103 cP). The waveform can be approximated by a series of helical arcs and interconnecting straight regions that travel from the base to the tip. The helical regions have a radius of curvature of 3.2 μm and subtend a final angle of 1.7 radians. The straight portions are 2.0 μm in length. There are two sets of opposing bends, but they do not originate in the same plane. The resulting waveform is an approximately helical coil, with a pitch of 9.8 μm, a pitch angle of 0.6 radian and a peak-to-peak amplitude of 2.3 μm. The sense of the coil is left handed. The axoneme twists during beating. The main differences between the movement of this flagellum and that of typical 9 + 2 flagella are a low beat frequency and three-dimensional bends that produce relatively little forward movement of the cell. Twisting is discussed as a means of discriminating between some types of models of flagellar motility.
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