, Volume 100, Issue 3, pp 231–250

The structure of the flagellar apparatus of the swarm cells ofPhysarum polycephalum

  • M. Wright
  • A. Moisand
  • L. Mir

DOI: 10.1007/BF01279314

Cite this article as:
Wright, M., Moisand, A. & Mir, L. Protoplasma (1979) 100: 231. doi:10.1007/BF01279314


Flagellation ofPhysarum polycephalum amoebae (Myxomycete) involves the formation around the two kinetosomes of a flagellar apparatus leading to a modification in the shape of the amoeba and its nucleus. A tridimensional ultrastructural model of the flagellar apparatus is proposed, based upon observation of the isolated nucleo-flagellar apparatus complex. The flagellar apparatus is composed of a non-microtubular structure (the posterior para-kinetosomal structure), five microtubular arrays and two flagella: a long anterior flagellum and a short flagellum directed backwards. The asymmetry of the flagellar apparatus is due mainly to the presence of the posterior para-kinetosomal structure on the right side of the posterior kinetosome and of the two asymmetrical microtubular arrays 3 and 4. Thus, the flagellar apparatus is right-handed. This asymmetry implies also some spatial constraints on two other microtubular arrays (2 and 5). Except in the case of the microtubular array 1 which links the proximal end of the anterior kinetosome to the nuclear membrane, the number of microtubules of each microtubular array seems to be well defined: 39, 5–6, 7–9, and 2+2 for the microtubular arrays 2, 3, 4, and 5 respectively. All the elements of the nucleo-flagellar apparatus complex are linked either directly or indirectly through bridges. Furthermore, the microtubules which composed the microtubular array 3 are linked through bridges while the microtubules of the microtubular arrays 2, 3, and 4 seem to be linked through a reticulate material. All these spatial relationships lead to a great cohesion of the nucleo-flagellar apparatus complex which appears to be a well defined structure. This suggests thatPhysarum amoebal flagellation can be a promising system to study the morphogenesis of an eucaryotic cell.


Cytochalasin A Nucleo-flagellar complex isolation Kinetosome Microtubule Myxomycete 



Piperazine-N,N′-bis [2-ethane-sulfonic acid]


[Ethylenebis(oxyethylenenitrile)]tetraacetic acid


Dimethyl sulfoxide

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Wright
    • 1
  • A. Moisand
    • 1
  • L. Mir
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Pharmacologie et de Toxicologie FondamentalesCNRSToulouse CedexFrance

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