Ultrastructure and Organization of the Cytoskeleton in Oxymonas, an Intestinal Flagellate of Termites


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ABSTRACT. Oxymonas has the characteristic structures and organization of other oxymonads including two separated pairs of basal bodies/flagella, a preaxostylar lamina, a paracrystalline axostyle, and an absence of mitochondria and Golgi. Like other Oxymonadinae genera it possesses a long proboscis, the rostellum which is terminated by the holdfast. Like the genera Pyrsonympha and Streblomastix, Oxymonas possesses a holdfast which permits it to attach to the cuticle of the termite hind-gut. This holdfast is subdivided into rhizoids and is filled with microfilaments. The rostellum is variable in length and contains two distinct microtubular bundles. One bundle is composed of convoluted microtubular ribbons which originate at the base of the holdfast and extend posteriorly along the rostellum and before penetrating into the cell body. The second bundle is composed of flexuous free microtubules which originate at different levels of the rostellum, increasing in number from top to base. They occupy the axial part of the rostellum and incorporate into the axostylar rows at the basal body/flagellar level. Microtubules of the paracrystalline axostyle are cross-linked by bridges forming parallel rows like in the contractile axostyles of other oxymonads such as Pyrsonympha and Saccinobaculus. Most of the microtubules of the axostyle originate at the flagellar/preaxostylar level but some originate from the axial flexous free microtubules of the rostellum, as indicated above. The possibility of an extension/retraction of the rostellum, suggested by other authors, is discussed.