Mastigonemes (Flimmer) from the sperm of Ascophyllum and Fucus were found to consist of a tripartite structure—a ca. 2000-A tapered basal region, a closed microtubular shaft, and a group of terminal filaments. Each of these regions appears to be constructed of globular subunits with a center-to-center distance of about 45 A. The mastigoneme microtubule is of smaller diameter (170–190 A) than cytoplasmic microtubules in these or other plant cells. During the initial stages of flagellar ontogeny, structures similar to mastigonemes (presumptive mastigonemes) are found within membrane-limited sacs in the cytoplasm or within the perinuclear space. Mastigonemes at this time are generally not found on the flagellar surface. Later, when the anterior flagellum acquires mastigonemes, the presumptive mastigonemes are absent from the cytoplasm. The regularity of attachment of mastigonemes to the flagellar surface suggests that specific attachment sites are constructed on the plasma membrane during flagellar ontogeny. No evidence for penetration of the mastigoneme through the plasma membrane was obtained. The origin and structure of mastigonemes are discussed in relation to reports of the origin and structure of other microtubular systems.

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