Lecudina tuzetae is a parasitic protozoan (Gregarine, Apicomplexa) living in the intestine of a marine polychaete annelid, Nereis diversicolor. Using electron and fluorescence microscopy, we have characterized the dynamic changes in microtubule organization during the sexual phase of the life cycle. The gametocyst excreted from the host worm into seawater consists of two (one male and one female) gamonts in which cortical microtubule arrays are discernible. Each gamont undergoes multiple nuclear divisions without cytokinesis, resulting in the formation of large multinucleate haploid cells. After cellularization, ∼1000 individual gametes are produced from each gamont within 24 h. Female gametes are spherical and contain interphase cytoplasmic microtubule arrays emanating from a γ-tubulin-containing site. In male gametes, both interphase microtubules and a flagellum with "6 + 0" axonemal microtubules extend from the same microtubule-organizing site. At the beginning of spore formation, each zygote secretes a wall to form a sporocyst. Following meiotic and mitotic divisions, each sporocyst gives rise to eight haploid cells that ultimately differentiate into sporozoites. The ovoid shaped sporocyst is asymmetric and forms at least two distinctive microtubule arrays: spindle microtubules and microtubule bundles originating from the protruding apical end corresponding to the dehiscence pole of the sporocyst. Because antibodies raised against mammalian centrosome components, such as γ-tubulin, pericentrin, Cep135, and mitosis-specific phosphoproteins, react strongly with the microtubule-nucleating sites Lecudina, this protozoan is likely to share common centrosomal antigens with higher eukaryotes.
- 6 + 0 axonemes
- Lecudina tuzetae
- Microtubule-organizing centers
- Parasitic protozoan