Parasitology Research

, Volume 97, Issue 5, pp 408–416 | Cite as

New ultrastructural observations on the skeletal matrix of Tritrichomonas foetus

  • Marlene Benchimol
Original Paper


Tritrichomonas foetus, a parasitic protozoon of the urogenital tract in cattle, presents a poorly known cytoskeleton, formed by rootlets and proteinaceous structures, many of which have not yet been characterized. Studies on its skeletal organization sheds light on the evolution of the matrix system, characteristic of higher eukaryotes. The skeletal matrix system of T. foetus in interphasic and dividing cells were studied using whole mount cell procedures observed either in field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) or in transmission electron microscope (TEM) after the cell-sandwich technique, where the plasma membrane was mechanically removed. Three-dimensional-like images of the cell matrix were attained revealing a network of filaments that has not been described previously. Freeze-etching and cytochemistry using acridine orange for TEM, were also used. Membrane–skeleton interactions were examined in the hydrogenosomes, on the nuclear envelope at mitosis and interphase, and in the overall matrix filling of the cytoplasm and nucleoplasm. It was demonstrated that this eukaryote has a complex skeletal matrix other than just the rigid cytoskeletal structures. Our analysis indicated that the nucleus has a defined position, and fibrils perform an anchoring system for the nucleus. The possibility of a mechanism for nuclei fidelity migration during mitosis is discussed.


Cytoskeleton Nuclear matrix Protist Tritrichomonas foetus Cryotechniques Electron microscopy 



This work was supported by the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo a Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), Programa de Núcleos de Excelência (PRONEX), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior (CAPES) and Associação Universitária Santa Úrsula (AUSU). The author also thanks the technical support given by William Christian Molêdo Lopes and Elivaldo de Lima.


  1. Apkarian RP (1997) The fine structure of fenestrated adrenocortical capillaries revealed by in-lens field-emission scanning electron microscopy and scanning transmission electron microscopy. Scanning 19:361–367PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Benchimol M (2005) The nuclei of Giardia lamblia-new ultrastructural observations. Arch Microbiol 183:160–168CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Benchimol M, de Souza W (1987) Structural analysis of the cytoskeleton of Tritrichomonas foetus. J Submicrosc Cytol 19:139–147PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Benchimol M, Picanço Diniz JA, Ribeiro KC (2000) Fine structure of the axostyle and its associations with other cell organelles in Trichomonads. Tissue Cell 32:178–187CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Berezney R, Mortillaro MJ, Ma H, Wei X (1995) The nuclear matrix: a structural milieu for genomic function. In: Berezney R, Jeon KW (eds) Nuclear matrix: structural and functional organization. Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp 1–65Google Scholar
  6. Boggild AK, Sundermann CA, Estridge BH (2002) Post-translational glutamylation and tyrosination in tubulin of Tritrichomonas and the diplomonad Giardia intestinalis. Parasitol Res 88:58–62CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Delgado-Viscogliosi P, Brugerolle G, Viscogliosi E (1996) Tubulin post-translational modifications in the primitive protist Trichomonas vaginalis. Cell Motil Cytosk 33:288–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diamond LS (1957) The establishment of various trichomonads of animals and man in axenic cultures. J Parasitol 43:488–490Google Scholar
  9. Frenster JH (1971) Electron microscopic localization of acridine orange binding to DNA within human leukemic bone marrow cells. Cancer Res 31:1128–1133PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Heuser JE, Reese TS, Landis DMD (1976) Preservation of synaptic structure by rapid freezing. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 40:17–2421PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Honigberg MB, Brugerolle G (1990) Structure. In: Honigberg BM (ed) Trichomonads parasitic in human. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp 5–35Google Scholar
  12. Lopes LC, Ribeiro KC, Benchimol M (2001) Immunolocalization of tubulin isoforms in the protists Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas vaginalis. Histochem Cell Biol 116:17–29PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Monteiro Leal LH, Cunha e Silva NL, Benchimol M, De Souza W (1993) Isolation and biochemical characterization of the Costa of Tritrichomonas foetus. Eur J Cell Biol 60:235–242PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Pawley J (1997) The development of field emission scanning electron microscopy for imaging biological surfaces. Scanning 19:324–336PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Peters KR (1979) Scanning electron microscopy at macromolecular resolution in low energy mode on biological specimens coated with ultra thin metal films. Scan Electron Microsc 2:133–148PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Ribeiro KC, Monteiro-Leal LH, Benchimol M (2000) Contributions of the axostyle and flagella to closed mitosis in the protists Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas vaginalis. J Eukaryot Microbiol 47:481–492CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Schliwa M, van Blerkom J (1981) Structural interaction of cytoskeletal components. J Cell Biol 90:222–235CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Schulze D, Robenek H, McFadden GI, Melkonian M (1987) Immunolocalization of a Ca2+ -modulated contractile protein in the flagellar apparatus of green algae: the nucleus-basal body connector. Eur J Cell Biol 45:51–61Google Scholar
  19. Viscogliosi E, Brugerolle G (1994) Cytoskeleton in trichomonads. III Study of the morphogenesis during division by using monoclonal antibodies against cytoskeletal structures. Eur J Protistol 30:129–138Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Ultraestrutura CelularUniversidade Santa ÚrsulaBotafogoBrazil

Personalised recommendations