In Elliptio complanatus lateral cilia, two distinct patterns of filament termination can be discerned. In one case, all nine filaments are present and all are single; in the second, at least one filament is missing but doublets are still present. These probably represent different configurations within one cilium in different stroke positions; to get from one to the other, some peripheral filaments must move with respect to others. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that the filaments themselves do not change length, but rather slide past one another to accommodate increasing curvature. The bent regions of the cilium are in the form of circular arcs. In a few cases, apparent displacement of filaments at the tip (Δl) can be shown to be accounted for if we assume that all differences are generated within these arcs. The displacement per degree of bend is 35 A. Regions of bent arc are initially confined to the base of the cilium but move up the shaft as straight regions appear below them. From the relationship between arc length and radius of curvature, a shaft length that is the unit that initially bends and slides may be defined. Quantal displacements of the length of one 14S dynein may perhaps occur at sites between filaments at opposite sides of such a unit as sliding occurs.

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