Selection of Nonmotile Tetrahymena with Ficoll Underlayers*,†

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The mechanisms regulating the development of cilia in Tetrahymena are poorly understood but might be revealed through the study of ciliogenesis mutants. Failure to regenerate cilia after dibucaine deciliation results in continued absence of motility. Therefore, to isolate ciliogenesis mutants efficiently, methods for separating motile and nonmotile cells are essential. We examined the efficacy of Ficoll underlayers for these separations. Ciliates of T. thermophila strain mpr‐/mpr (6 mp sens IV) (6‐methyl purine‐sensitive; mating type IV) were mixed with Ficoll and added as underlayers to separatory funnels containing growth medium. At 27 C most of the cells remained motile and were found in the top layer; at 37 C, there was a time‐dependent increase in the number of nonmotile cells and the number of cells in the Ficoll layer. After 150 min at 37 C, most of the cells became nonmotile and were found in the Ficoll layer. Other studies indicated that at 37 C, the cells remained alive and capable of regenerating cilia when deciliated. Thus, it is clear that the Ficoll underlayer effectively separates the majority of nonmotile cells from the majority of motile cells. Evidently, however, at 37 C wild‐type T. thermophila exhibit temperature‐sensitive phenotypic variability with regard to motility which should be minimized when selecting for mutations affecting motility and ciliogenesis. Copyright © 1979, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

The Journal of Protozoology