Microsurgically generated discontinuities provoke heritable changes in cellular handedness of a ciliate, Stylonychia mytilus.

Abstract

Stylonychia mytilus is a dorsoventrally flattened ciliate with compound ciliary structures arranged in a specific manner on the cell surface. In mirror-image (MI) doublets of this ciliate, two nearly complete sets of ciliary structures are arrayed side-by-side, one in a normal or 'right-handed' (RH) arrangement, the other in a reversed or 'left-handed' (LH) arrangement. MI-doublets exist in two forms, one with the RH component on the right, the LH component on the left, and feeding structures near the center ('buccal-adjoining MI-doublet'); the other with the RH component on the left, the LH component on the right, and feeding structures on the lateral edges ('buccal-opposing MI-doublet'). We describe an operation that can generate either type of MI-doublet. This operation interchanges large anterior and posterior regions of the cell, transposing the original posterior region anteriorly (P----A) and the original anterior region posteriorly (A----P), while retaining the original anteroposterior polarity of each region. Two sets of new ciliary structures then are formed in mirror-image arrangement, with the set in the P----A region oriented normally and the set in the A----P region undergoing a reversal of polarity along its anteroposterior axis. This sometimes creates end-to-end MI forms, but more commonly produces side-by-side MI-doublets through a folding together of the P----A and A----P regions. This folding occurs because one lateral edge of the cell had been removed during the operation; if the left edge was removed, the complex folds to the left and forms a buccal-adjoining MI-doublet, whereas if the right edge was removed, the complex folds to the right and forms a buccal-opposing MI-doublet. Both types can reorganize and later divide true-to-type, although the 'buccal-opposing' type is by far the more stable of the two. The generation of mirror-image forms is dependent on the prior abnormal juxtaposition of regions from opposite ends of the cell, and involves a coordinated respecification of large-scale organization. We interpret this response to be a consequence of intercalation of missing intervening positional values in the zone of posterior-anterior abutment.

Cite this paper

@article{Shi1991MicrosurgicallyGD, title={Microsurgically generated discontinuities provoke heritable changes in cellular handedness of a ciliate, Stylonychia mytilus.}, author={Xiao-yuan Shi and Zijian Qiu and Wenting He and Joseph Frankel}, journal={Development}, year={1991}, volume={111 2}, pages={337-56} }