Plasmodial fragments of Physarum polycephalum, excised from anterior regions of a thin-spread plasmodium, contracted-relaxed cyclicly with a period of 3-5 min. The area of the fragments decreased approximately 10% during contraction. In most cases, there was little endoplasmic streaming which indicates that contractions were synchronized throughout the fragment. By both polarized light and fluorescence microscopy, the organization and distribution of the cytoplasmic actomyosin fibrils in the fragments changed in synchrony with the contraction cycle. The fibrils formed during the contraction phase, and finally became a highly organized framework consisting of a three-dimensional network of numerous fibrils with many converging points (the nodes). During relaxation, the fibrils degenerated and disappeared almost completely, though some very weak fibrils remained near the nodes and the periphery. The results obtained by fluorometry of the fragments, stained with rhodamine-phalloidin, suggested that the G-F transformation of actin is not the main underlying process of the fibrillar formation.

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