The effect of concanavalin A on egestion of food vacuoles in Tetrahymena

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The ability of concanavalin A (conA) to disrupt food vacuole elimination at the cytoproct of Tetrahymena pyriformis, strain GL-C, was investigated using fluorescence microscopy and thin section electron microscopy. ConA was found to induce "tails" in Tetrahymena. These tails were specifically stained by fluorescent conA. Thin section observations of conA-treated cells revealed that these tails were the result of abnormal egestion of food vacuole contents at the cytoproct. Tail formation appears to result from an inhibition of endocytosis of food vacuole membrane during egestion. Instead, the food vacuole membrane appears to be cast out of the cell, along with the contents of the vacuole. The mechanism of this inhibition may be related to an apparent absence of microtubules or microfilamentous mat in the cytoproct region of conA-treated cells. Although conA is ingested into food vacuoles in large amounts, conA appears to affect endocytosis only from outside the cell; ingested conA does not appear to be effective. ConA may exert its influence by binding to the cytoproct region. The ability of conA to induce tail formation is inhibited by sugars specific to it. Numerous membranous vesicles are found in association with the oral cilia and cytoproct region of conA-treated cells. These vesicles may be the conA-binding material reported to be secreted by Tetrahymena. © 1983.

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Experimental Cell Research