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Keywords:

  • Non-muscle actomyosin;
  • Differentiation;
  • Oscillating contractions

Abstract

Based on the knowledge about subcellular morphogenetic processes in the acellular slime mold Physarum polycephalum, we hypothesized that during differentiation of undifferentiated endoplasm to the highly differentiated complex structure of the contractile apparatus of this organism, the regularity of oscillating contractions must improve.

We measured the endogenous contraction automaticity starting from the de novo generation within minutes after sampling small portions of undifferentiated endoplasm.

The standard deviation of the normalized period duration of these samples was compared to the respective values of radial contractions of differentiated protoplasmic plasmodial strands. The mean normalized standard deviation in endoplasmic drops was 28.3 ± 12.2%. Respective values in protoplasmic strands were 10.0 ± 3.7%. The difference between the experimental groups was highly significant (p < 0.0001).

We interpret the verification of our hypothesis as an indication that the very regular oscillating contractions in fully differentiated stages of Physarum require the complex structure of the sophisticated contractile apparatus, represented by the circular plasmalemma invagination system of protoplasmic strands, while the regularity is lower in stages, where the differentiation is still in progress. We believe that this is due to deficits in coordination capabilities, which need a directional and spatially oriented protoplasmic streaming as a precondition.