The peripheral feeding network of the giant freshwater ameba Reticulomyxa can be easily and rapidly lysed to produce an extensive, stable, and completely exposed cytoskeletal framework of colinear microtubules and microfilaments. Most of the organelles that remain attached to this framework resume rapid saltatory movements at rates of up to 20 micron/s if ATP is added. This lysed model system is also capable of other forms of motility, namely an active splaying of microtubule bundles and bulk streaming. Reactivation does not occur with other nucleoside triphosphates, requires Mg ions, is insensitive to even high concentrations of erythro-9-(3-[2-hydroxynonyl]) adenine, is sensitive to vanadate only at concentrations of approximately 100 microM, and is inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide at concentrations greater than 100 microM. The physiology of this reactivation suggests an organelle transport motor distinct from cytoplasmic dynein and possibly the recently described kinesin. This system can serve as a model for elucidating the mechanisms of intracellular transport and, in addition, provides a unique opportunity to examine associations between microtubules and microfilaments.

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