The large oligotrich rumen protozoa Diplodinium ecaudatum and Ophryoscolex caudatus have been studied by electron microscopy during interphase and division. The structure of mature cilia is contrasted with that seen during their formation particularly in a tuft where development lags and is arrested. Here the shaft is only a few micra long and is composed of filaments that have circular cross-sections not in the typical circular arrangement. In their diameter and appearance the filaments are similar to filaments associated with the nuclei during division. The macronucleus has within it randomly directed filaments, while the micronucleus contains well aligned filaments and other arrangements typical of an intranuclear mitotic process. An extranuclear filament system is also present and is elaborated during division. The infraciliary filament system is particularly elaborate in these organisms. Filaments ranging from 14 to 22 mµ have been observed with some tendency for a bimodal distribution in diameters of 15 and 21 mµ. Formation of such filaments has been observed and consists of an initial orientation of very fine elements followed by filament formation. The observations are discussed in relation to filament involvements in cell movements. The concepts are discussed that filaments are metastable structures and that the transitions from one state to another are functionally significant.

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