Exposure of Tetrahymena pyriformis to 7,500 or 10,000 psi of hydrostatic pressure for 2, 5, or 10 min intervals results in a change in cell shape and ciliary activity. Shape changes occur concurrently with a degradation of longitudinal microtubules in a posterior to anterior direction. High pressure also causes a disruption of ciliary activity. Fine structural analysis reveals a breakdown (presumably microtubule depolymerization) of the central ciliary microtubules. The depolymerization begins at the junction of the central ciliary microtubules with the axosome and progresses distally along the ciliary shaft for a distance of about 0.5 µ.

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