, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 385-398

An electron-microscopical analysis of capture and initial stages of penetration of nematodes byArthrobotrys oligospora

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A detailed analysis was made of the capture and subsequent penetration of nematodes by the nematophagous fungusArthrobotrys oligospora using different electron-microscopical techniques. Capture of nematodes by this fungus occurred on complex hyphal structures (traps) and was effectuated by an adhesive coating, present on these trap cells. The adhesive layer was largely fibrillar in nature and was absent on cells of normal hyphae. Following capture, penetration hyphae were formed at those sites where the trap cell wall was anchored to the nematode cuticle by the adhesive. New walls of these hyphae were formed underneath the original trap cell walls, which were partly hydrolysed to allow growth and development of the penetration tubes through the adhesive coating towards the cuticle. Our observations indicated that the cuticle of the nematode was subsequently penetrated by the penetration tubes by mechanical means. After penetration a large infection bulb was formed from which trophic hyphae arose. Cytochemical experiments indicated that the sites of penetration of the cuticle were intensely stained for acid phosphatase activity. At later stages of infection activity of this enzyme was present throughout the nematode contents; the enzyme was most probably secreted by complex membranous structures associated with the cytoplasmic membrane of the infection bulb and the trophic hyphae.