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Description, structure and dimensions of ciliates shoes

The ciliates-shoe is known from school biology lessons. This is one of the species of ciliary single-celled organisms, which does not belong to the realm of animals, plants or fungi, but belongs to the intermediate group of protists.

It inhabits the creature in fresh water, and it received an interesting name for its permanent body shape, similar to the imprint of the sole of a shoe.

Ciliate slipper – a ciliary unicellular organism, which is included in the intermediate group of protists

The type of ciliates refers to the over-kingdom of eukaryotes, that is, organisms with a nucleus. They correspond to the type of ciliary, class Oligohymenophorea and the type of paramecium.

A feature of this rank is the preference for acidic environmental conditions.

Researchers at one time spent a lot of effort on deciphering the genome of some species belonging to paramecia. It turned out that it contains 40,000 genes encoding proteins, whereas in humans there are only about 28,000. An increase in the number of genes resulted from several duplications of the original genome.

The coding method of the sequence of amino acid residues at ciliates is unique in the presence of a single, rather than triple, as in the universal genetic code, codon, which completes the synthesis of a polypeptide chain.

Optimum habitat for the body – fresh standing water, in which there are decomposing organic compounds. In particular, these conditions correspond to the home aquarium, in the sample of silty water which is often found protozoa.

Habitat infusoria shoes – standing water

Consider the ciliates can only be under a microscope, since its size does not exceed 0.1−0.3 mm. Almost 7% of the cell consists of dry matter, the chemical composition of which is represented by the following components:

The body of the ciliate-shoe is covered with a dense layer of cytoplasm, under the outer membrane of which such elements of the cytoskeleton as the alveoli and microtubules are located. The body consists of the following elements:

  • nucleus (macronucleus);
  • nucleolus (micronucleus);
  • longitudinal and superficial cilia;
  • mouth opening;
  • formed and forming digestive vacuoles (phagosomes);
  • the hole through which the emptying of the digestive vacuole occurs (cytopigus or poroshits);
  • two contractile vacuoles.

Each organoid performs important functions.

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The ciliates have two cores, each of which has its own structure and functions. Small has a rounded shape, contains a hereditary material. From its genome, matrix RNAs are poorly readable, therefore hereditary information is not converted into protein or another functional product, and gene expression is absent.

In the event of the destruction of the nucleolus, the life of the shoe continues, but it will only multiply asexually, the sexual process will be impossible.

The ripening of a large bean-shaped core leads to complex rearrangements in the hereditary material. All mRNAs are read from its genes, so protein synthesis depends on it.

The sexual process destroys the nucleus, but at the end of it the macronucleus is restored again.

Cilia in a small cell, there are from 10 to 15 thousand. They grow out of basal bodies that form a complex cytoskeleton system, which includes post-kinocodesmal fibrils and filaments.

At the base of the organelles, parasomal sacs are formed, resulting from the invagination of the outer membrane.

Cilia in infusoria from 10 to 15 thousand

Between densely located infusor cilia, there is still room for 5–8 thousand defense organoids, called trichocystas. They represent one of the varieties of secretory vesicles, pushed out by infusoria during exocytosis.

They look like bodies with a tip, transversely striated after every 7 nm, arranged in membrane bags. The protective function is manifested in instant lengthening and firing in case of danger.

However, some representatives of ciliates are deprived of such organelles and at the same time are quite viable.

The ciliates-shoe moves with the help of cilia. Making wavy movements, she swims with a blunt end forward.

Organelles make a direct strike in the straightened state. Return is carried out in a curved.

This process can not be called synchronous, as the tempo sets the first cilium in a row, and each subsequent repeats the action with a slight delay. This leads to the rotation of the shoe around its axis during movement.

For a second, it overcomes 2−2,5 mm distance.

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Bending the body, the ciliate can change direction. In case of an unexpected collision with an obstacle, it will sharply move backwards, since the potential difference will sharply decrease in its membrane, and calcium ions will penetrate inside.

Then the shoe will move forwards and backwards for some time, during which the calcium will leave the cell and will soon continue along the original path.

The mouth of the shoe looks like a groove on the body, passing into the cellular pharynx. Around the mouth opening are complex structures formed from cilium. The ciliate-slipper feeds mainly on algae, bacteria and other small unicellular organisms, which it finds by the chemicals they secrete.

The hair-like structures around the mouth drive the prey down the throat along with the flow of water.

Mouth of ciliates looks like a hollow on the body.

Then the food enters the digestive vacuole formed in the process of phagocytosis, and under the action of the cytoplasmic flow moves to the back end of the cell, returns to the front part and goes back again. Vacuole fuses with lysosomes, which is accompanied by the appearance of an acidic medium, which gradually shifts towards weakly alkaline.

The phagosome migrates and increases the rate of absorption by separating small membrane vesicles. Everything that cannot be digested is thrown through poroshitsu, devoid of developed cytoplasm.

Digested foods are dispersed throughout the intercellular space and are used to carry out vital activity.

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Interestingly, the abundance of food affects how much the ciliate-slipper lives. Life expectancy is only a few days with an excess diet and a few months (sometimes up to a year) with a poor diet.

Contractile vacuoles are located on the front and rear of the cells. Each of them consists of a reservoir that opens outwardly at times, and outgoing radial channels surrounded by a multitude of thin tubes that pump liquid from the cytoplasm.

The entire fragile system holds the cytoskeleton.

The main function of these internal organelles is osmoregulation. Diffusion of water molecules into the cell leads to excess fluid, which is derived by vacuoles.

Leading channels pumped water into the tank, which is then reduced and separated from the tubes, through the pore by throwing water out of the cell. Two vacuoles work alternately, each decreasing for 10-25 seconds, depending on the ambient temperature.

An hour later, the ejected volume of fluid equals the volume of the cell itself.

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The ciliate-shoe multiplies asexually, which consists in peppered fission and is accompanied by complex regeneration processes. Since two are made from a single individual, each of the new shoes gets one contractile vacuole, and they are forced to complete the missing on their own. Cellular mouth gets only one ciliate, and the second at this time has to form an oral opening with the necessary structures around it.

Each representative forms the basal bodies and new cilia independently.

Infusoria is characterized by the sexual process, called conjugation, it consists in the transfer of nuclei between the cells of partners. In the process involved shoes, formed by dividing different mother cells.

They are glued with oral cavities, resulting in a cytoplasmic bridge.

Ciliates can multiply both asexually and sexually.

At this time, each individual large nuclei are destroyed, and small ones are divided, while halving the number of chromosomes. The result is 4 cores, 3 of which are destroyed.

The rest is divided into two genetically identical nuclei, and each partner produces male and female pronuclei. Female nuclei remain each in their own cell, and male ciliates are exchanged.

During the exchange, the feminine and masculine pronuclei merge and a new nucleus forms, dividing by two more. They become new large and small nuclei.

The story about the ciliate-shoe can be heard at school, but how exactly the researchers studied the tiny organism, not everyone knows. In fact, there is nothing difficult in observing him; besides, the size in tenths of a millimeter is rather large for the simplest ones.

All this means that research can be conducted even at home, but first you need to dissolve the culture of ciliates.

Since the shoes are present in all water bodies, water is taken from these sources. For the purity of the experiment, you need to take three glass containers and put decomposing twigs and leaves in one of them, live plants in the other, and sludge from the bottom in the third.

All materials are taken from the reservoir, from there it is extracted and the liquid and poured into the banks.

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