Motility events of trichocyst insertion in Paramecium tetraurelia. Academic Article uri icon


  • Following electroshock-induced extrusion of its inserted trichocysts, Paramecium tetraurelia rapidly begins replacement of the population of lost organelles. Light microscopy of the cortical insertion of new trichocysts reveals a series of characteristic motility activities. An uninserted trichocyst in the cyclotic flow of the cell appears to be "captured" and removed to the noncyclotic, subcortical regions. The trichocyst then makes a series of saltatory motions which apparently serve to transport it to the cortex, with proper orientation (tip first) for insertion. Trichocyst saltations end with either cortical insertion of the organelle, or return to cyclosis. If the trichocyst is inserted, it makes a series of unique pivoting movements around the motionless tip. This form of motility, termed "wobble," continues for a short period of time. After cessation of wobble, the insertion of the trichocyst is apparently complete, since no further motility is observed. With the aid of these observations it was possible to identify saltatory motility as the means for transporting trichocysts to the cortex for insertion, and also to observe a motility of unknown significance (wobble) apparently associated with the process of cortical insertion.

author list (cited authors)

  • Aufderheide, K. J

citation count

  • 16

complete list of authors

  • Aufderheide, KJ

publication date

  • January 1978