A specific exocytic process, the discharge of spindle trichocysts of paramecium caudatum was examined by means of the electron microscope. This exocytosis is induced by an electric shock simultaneously in nearly all of the trichocysts (ca. 6,000-8,0000 of a single cell. Single paramecia were subjected to the shock and then fixed at defined times after the shock so that the temporal sequence of the pattern of changes of the trichocyst membranes after exocytosis could be studied. The trichocyst vacuoles fuse with the plasma membrane only for that length of time required for expulsion to take place. After exocytosis, the membrane of the vacuole does not become incorporated into the plasma membrane; rather, the collapsed vacuole is pinched off and breaks up within the cytoplasm. The membrane vesiculates into small units which can no longer be distinguished from vesicles of the same dimensions that exist normally within the cell's cytoplasm. the entire process is completed within 5-10 min. These results differ from the incorporation of mucocyst membranes into the plasma membrane as proposed for tetrahymena.

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