Mitochondrial Associations with Specific Components of the Cortex of Tetrahymena thermophila Nanney & McCoy, 1976: Microtubules and the Epiplasm1 Academic Article uri icon


  • Ultrastructural observations of the cortically‐located mitochondria of Tetrahymena thermophila revealed associations not only between the mitochondria and certain of the cortical microtubule bands, but also between the mitochondria and the epiplasm of the cortex. Most of the distal mitochondrial surface is close and parallel to the epiplasm; favorable views show bridge‐like structures spanning the 20–10 nm gap between the mitochondrion and the epiplasm. Previous studies have shown that the placement of mitochondria in the cortex appears to be determined by certain of the cortical microtubule bands. This study, however, shows that mitochondrion‐microtubule interactions account for only a small proportion of the total mitochondrial area associated with the cortex; the rest is accounted for by the epiplasm. A possible analogue of the spectrin layer of erythrocyte membranes, the epiplasm may be important in helping to arrange the intricately organized components of the ciliate cortex. Its involvement in apparently helping to “moor” mitochondria to their cortical sites is the first suggestion of any role in cell patterning played by the epiplasm. Copyright © 1983, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

author list (cited authors)


citation count

  • 7

publication date

  • August 1983