, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 1–15 | Cite as

Developmental studies on the loricate choanoflagellateStephanoeca diplocostata Ellis. V. The cytoskeleton and the effects of microtubule poisons

  • B. S. C. Leadbeater


InStephanoeca diplocostata microtubules are located in four positions namely: within the flagellar axoneme; just beneath the plasmalemma; associated with the silica deposition vesicles (SDVs) during early stages of costal strip deposition; and in the mitotic spindle. At the anterior end of the cell the 50–60 peripheral microtubules, which are organized more or less parallel to the long axis of the cell, converge around the base of the emergent flagellum. A short second flagellar base is positioned between the nucleus and the base of the emergent flagellum. Developing costal strips are located individually within SDVs in the peripheral cytoplasm. During the early stages of silica deposition each SDV is curved and subtended longitudinally on its concave side by two microtubules. When a costal strip has achieved sufficient rigidity to withstand bending the SDV-associated microtubules are depolymerized. Treatment of exponentially growing cells with sublethal concentrations of microtubule poisons, such as colchicine, podophyllotoxin, griseofulvin andVinca alkaloids depresses growth. Treatment with these drugs also affects the length and morphology of developing costal strips perhaps by interfering with the shaping and supporting functions of SDV-associated microtubules. Instead of being long and crescentic with a standard radius of curvature, costal strips of treated cells are usually short and misshapen, with irregular bends. After drug treatment, juveniles produced as a result of cell division do not develop flagella but can still assemble a lorica although it is usually misshapen. The role of microtubules and microfilaments in lorica production is discussed.


Choanoflagellate Lorica assembly Microtubule function Microtubule poisons Silica deposition Colchicine treatment 


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© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. S. C. Leadbeater
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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