Our recent analysis of the nephridial apparatus of Paramecium multimicronucleatum by high-speed cinematography (300 fps at X 250) indicates that before the water expulsion vesicle ("contractile vacuole") is completely voided of fluid during expulsion, the ampullae surrounding and confluent with the vesicle swell with fluid entering from their respective nephridial tubules. Once the membranes of the excretory pore at the base of the excretory canal (leading from the vesicle proper to the outside) have constricted and resealed the excretory pore, the up till then constricted injection tubules of the ampullae which conduct fluid to the vesicle open as waves of contraction along the coacervate gel around the ampulla and proceed along each ampulla from distal to proximal end. The coacervate gel around any one ampulla does not necessarily contract in phase with that of any other ampulla. Each ampulla acts independently. The fluid from the ampullae is thus pumped sequentially, but not in predetermined order, into the water expulsion vesicle, refilling and distending it. Our previous studies (Organ et al., 1968a) suggest that an actomyosinoid ATP-using mechanism may be functional in the ampullary contractions.

This content is only available as a PDF.