Cilia were isolated from Tetrahymena pyriformis by a glycerol method. The addition of low concentrations of ATP, but not of other nucleoside triphosphates, caused an increase of up to twofold in the amount of cilia pelleted in a low-speed centrifugation assay and decreased the density of the pellets compared to control pellets. Pellet size and density depend on pH, both in the absence and in the presence of low concentrations of ATP. High concentrations (5 mM and above) of ATP and of other nucleoside triphosphates tend to "dissolve" the cilia. Heating the cilia for 11 min at 40°C abolishes the increase in pellet size and the decrease in pellet density caused by low ATP, but slightly increases the ATPase activity of the cilia. Heat treatment, however, does not prevent the dissolving effect of high ATP. There are, thus, two independent effects of ATP on the hydrodynamic properties of cilia suspensions.

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