The structure, assembly, and composition of the extracellular hairs (mastigonemes) of Ochromonas are detailed in this report. These mastigonemes form two lateral unbalanced rows, each row on opposite sides of the long anterior flagellum. Each mastigoneme consists of lateral filaments of two distinct sizes attached to a tubular shaft. The shaft is further differentiated into a basal region at one end and a group of from one to three terminal filaments at the free end. Mastigoneme ontogeny as revealed especially in deflagellated and regenerating cells appears to begin by assembly of the basal region and shaft within the perinuclear continuum. However, addition of lateral filaments to the shaft and extrusion of the mastigonemes to the cell surface is mediated by the Golgi complex. The ultimate distribution of mastigonemes on the flagellar surface seems to be the result of extrusion of mastigonemes near the base of the flagellum, and it is suggested that mastigonemes are then pulled up the flagellum as the axoneme elongates. Efforts to characterize mastigonemes biochemically after isolation and purification on cesium chloride (CsCl) followed by electrophoresis on acrylamide gels have demonstrated what appear to be a single major polypeptide and several differentially migrating carbohydrates. The polypeptide is not homologous with microtuble protein. The functionally anomalous role of mastigonemes in reversing flagellar thrust is discussed in relation to their distribution relative to flagellar anatomy and to the plane of flagellar undulations.

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