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Biochemistry - Biophysics - Physics

3D Morphology, Ultrastructure and Development of Ceratomyxa puntazzi Stages: First Insights into the Mechanisms of Motility and Budding in the Myxozoa
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Author: Gema Alama-Bermejo et al.

by Gema Alama-Bermejo, James Emmanuel Bron, Juan Antonio Raga, Astrid Sibylle Holzer

Free, amoeboid movement of organisms within media as well as substrate-dependent cellular crawling processes of cells and organisms require an actin cytoskeleton. This system is also involved in the cytokinetic processes of all eukaryotic cells. Myxozoan parasites are known for the disease they cause in economical important fishes. Usually, their pathology is related to rapid proliferation in the host. However, the sequences of their development are still poorly understood, especially with regard to pre-sporogonic proliferation mechanisms. The present work employs light microscopy (LM), electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) in combination with specific stains (Nile Red, DAPI, Phalloidin), to study the three-dimensional morphology, motility, ultrastructure and cellular composition of Ceratomyxa puntazzi, a myxozoan inhabiting the bile of the sharpsnout seabream. Our results demonstrate the occurrence of two C. puntazzi developmental cycles in the bile, i.e. pre-sporogonic proliferation including frequent budding as well as sporogony, resulting in the formation of durable spore stages and we provide unique details on the ultrastructure and the developmental sequence of bile inhabiting myxozoans. The present study describes, for the first time, the cellular components and mechanisms involved in the motility of myxozoan proliferative stages, and reveals how the same elements are implicated in the processes of budding and cytokinesis in the Myxozoa. We demonstrate that F-actin rich cytoskeletal elements polarize at one end of the parasites and in the filopodia which are rapidly de novo created and re-absorbed, thus facilitating unidirectional parasite motility in the bile. We furthermore discover the myxozoan mechanism of budding as an active, polarization process of cytokinesis, which is independent from a contractile ring and thus differs from the mechanism, generally observed in eurkaryotic cells. We hereby demonstrate that CLSM is a powerful tool for myxozoan research with a great potential for exploitation, and we strongly recommend its future use in combination with in vivo stains.