The polar filaments within microsporidian spores discharges as tubes with subsecond velocity. Populations of discharging tubes of Glugea hertwigi spores pulse-labeled with latex particles for 1-3 s were consistently devoid of label at the distal ends; discharging tubes were completely labeled after 30- to 60-s exposure to latex. This experiment indicates that discharge tubes grow at the tip. Completely assembled discharge tubes consisted of single, empty cylinders; however, incompletely discharged tubes had a cylinder-within-a-cylinder profile at the distal ends. This observation indicates that the discharge tube material emerges at the distal end by an eversion process. Finally, studies with cinematic Nomarski interference optics of spore tubes extruding across a water-air interphase indicate that all the material emerging from the growing tip of the tube is incorporated into the wall of the discharge tube. Evidence indicates that the polar filament of undischarged spores is a homogeneous coil of polar tube protein equivalent to the polar tube protein in discharged tubes.

This content is only available as a PDF.