The coupled resorption and redifferentiation of oral structures which occurs in Tetrahymena pyriformis under conditions of amino acid deprivation has been studied by transmission electron microscopy. Two patterns of ciliary resorption have been found, (a) in situ, and (b) after withdrawal into the cytoplasm. No autophagic vacuoles containing cilia or ciliary axonemes have been seen. Stomatogenic field basal bodies arise by a process of rapid sequential nucleation, with new ones always appearing next to more mature ones, even though the latter may not be fully differentiated. Accessory radial ribbons of microtubules develop immediately adjacent to oral field basal bodies as a late step in their maturation. It can be seen that the formation of basal bodies and their orientation within the oral complex are separate processes. This is true for about 130 of the approximately 170 oral basal bodies; the remaining 40 or so form within the patterned groups of ciliary units as a later event. Clusters of randomly oriented thin-walled microtubules are found surrounding oral basal bodies at all times during stomatogenesis. They may either represent stores of microtubule subunit protein, or serve as effectors of basal body movement during their orientation into pattern.

This content is only available as a PDF.