Identification of the basal bodies and kinetodesmal fibers in living cells of Paramecium tetraurelia Sonneborn, 1975 and Paramecium sonneborni Aufderheide, Daggett & Nerad, 1983.
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Critical use of Nomarski DIC optics and a rotocompressor permits basal bodies and kinetodesmal fibers to be visualized in the cortices of living Paramecium tetraurelia and Paramecium sonneborni. The identification of these structures is confirmed by the correspondence of the images obtained by DIC optics of living cells and by brightfield optics of fixed cells stained by the Fernndez-Galiano silver technique. Examination of cells carrying cortical inversions (portions of the cortex rotated 180 degrees) shows that inverted regions may be identified and distinguished from normal regions by the orientation of the kinetodesmal fibers of the kinetids (cortical units) within the kineties (ciliary rows). This demonstrates that both the asymmetry and the polarity of each cortical unit may be assessed in the living cell. This technique has useful applications in the study of morphogenesis and patterning in living cells and for the screening of mutations and variants conferring altered cortical phenotypes.
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