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Stall force does not affect the stalk coiling propagation of Vorticella convallaria


The stalk of Vorticella convallaria, a sessile microorganism, is a model for calcium-powered cellular contraction and biomimetic actuators because of its high contraction speed and unique energy source. Usually, the stalk coiling follows the contraction of the cell body with a time delay (latent period), and it propagates from the cell body side to the root side. The dynamics and energetics of contracting V. convallaria have been studied by applying a stall force to the cell and thus slowing down the stalk contraction. This study exerted an extrinsic stall force to V. convallaria by applying drag force to V. convallaria cells using a microchannel and found that the propagation speed of the stalk coiling was not affected by the stall force, which is similar to the stalk coiling propagation of V. convallaria contracting in a stagnant viscous liquid. In contrast, the minimum latent period increased with the stall force, which enabled estimation of the maximum rate of contraction force development of the V. convallaria stalk.

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SR appreciates Dilziba Kizghin and Carson Emeigh for proofreading.

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Correspondence to Sangjin Ryu.

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Ryu, S., Matsudaira, P. Stall force does not affect the stalk coiling propagation of Vorticella convallaria. JMST Adv. 3, 35–40 (2021).

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  • Calcium-powered cell motility
  • Latent period
  • High-speed imaging
  • Kymograph