FURTHER OBSERVATIONS ON THE ULTRASTRUCTURE OF TREPONEMA PALLIDUM NICHOLS

Authors


Department of Treponematoses, Statens Seruminstitut, Amager Boulevard 80, 2300 Copenhagen S., Denmark.

Abstract

Flagella isolated from Treponema pallidum Nichols after treatment with the detergents Teepol and sodium deoxycholate, and with the enzyme Myxobacter AL-1 protease 1, were studied in the electron microscope after negative staining. The flagella were found to consist of 1) a sheathed shaft, 2) a hook with a honey-combed substructure, 3) a narrow collar with a smooth appearance, and 4) a basal knob which seemed to consist of a single disc. Comparison was made with descriptions of flagella isolated from other spirochetes, and with flagella isolated from gram-negative bacteria. Treatment of Treponema pallidum Nichols with sodium deoxycholate or with the protease 1 (AL-1 enzyme) revealed two bundles of intracytoplasmic microtubules, one bundle at each end of the organism. Each bundle consisted of 6–8 microtubules and each tubule had a diameter of 7–7.5 nm. The possible taxonomic significance of the presence of microtubules in some species of Treponema is discussed.

Ancillary