[Protista] Macronuclear regeneration
(by pearl At dsi.uanl.mx)
Mon Nov 6 12:21:08 EST 2006
Discovered in 1940 in Paramecium aurelia by Sonneborn, macronuclear
regeneration (MR) in ciliates is now well established. Senescence,
immaturity (Haga & Hiwatashi, 1981) and rejuvenation have entered the
panorama of conjugation and autogamy even since Maupas in 1889. See
Smith-Sonnenborn (1979) on aging.
A week ago, I made the mistake of writing that MR was not convincing,
corrected now after reading Kloetzel on Euplotes aediculatus and Kimura
& Mikami on Paramecium caudatum. If the initiating macronucleus (MA) is
damaged or missing,, a MA fragment of the old MA can replace it as a
form of life insurance. Kloetzel used a UV microbeam and Kimura & Mikami
used microsurgery to inactivate the anlagen and induce MR from fragments.
Ciliates are multinucleate cells that contain macronuclei and
micronuclei. The nuclear contents often change after meiosis. Crossing
over, various segregations and hybridizations often involving
allopolyploidy are still poorly understood. Exconjugant cells have
maternal MA fragments, newly initiated MA and micronuclei (MI). The
maternal macronucleus of P. caudatum is retained for long periods such
as four cell cycles in some species and can continue to influence
However after a few cycles, the presence of the new MA anlage suppresses
the synthesis of DNA by the maternal fragments that then become pycnotic.
Then MA fragmentation might begin with fertilization or later followed
by MR followed by DNA inhibition in fragments and then their digestion.
See Kimura & Mikami (2003). Without a new MA, the old one is
regenerated, at least in both P. caudatum and Euplotes aediculatus.
Sending a genetic signal through the cytoplasm from an anlage to a
fragment is a miracle indeed. Is this one a somatic segregation ? Such a
signal was assumed to originate in the MI-controlled synkaryon as MIs
and MAs so segregate from it. That is the MIs from the synkaryon
segregate into MIs and MA anlagen. See also Cole & Siegel (1969) leading
to Chen on allopolyploidy in P. bursaria.
When ciliates say Make 4 MI, they might only need one. If the processes
of meiosis and allopolyploidy are accidentally mixed, one result can be
a new species in one jump though the common result leads to death.
Ciliates are, by the precautions they take, trying to hold on to the
status quo including of course their ploidy status. It is indicated by
the volume of the MI. Segregations in the sense of being only related to
crossingover in classic meiosis cannot explain all of the events during
the Maupasian rejuvenation allowed by conjugation--promoted by sexual
Other necessary references follow.
Allen, Genetics (1967) 55: 797-822
Berger, Chromosome (1973) 44: 33-48, J. Protozool (1974) 21: 145-152
Cole & Siegel, (1969) Genetics 63: 361-368
Diller, J Morph (1965) 116: 51-64
Fidler, Jayaraman & Kloetzel, J Protozool (1985) 32: 429-438
Haga & Hiwatashi, Nature (1981) 289: 177179.
Katashima, J Sci Hiroshima Univ Ser B Div 1 (1959) 18: 99-107; 1971, 23:
Kimura & Mikami, Differentiation (2003) 71: 337345
Kloetzel, Develop Biol (1981) 83: 20-32
Lipps, Arch Protistenkd 116: 106-131
Mikami, Chromosoma (1979) 73: 131-142, Dev Biol (1987) 123: 161168, J
Protozool (1975) 22: 536-540
Raikov, In Research in Protozoology, 1968, Ed. TT Chen, Vol 3, Pergamon,
Smith-Sonneborn, Science (1979) 203: 1115-1117.
Sonneborn, Anat Rec (1940) 78: 5354.
Dr Paul R Earl
Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas
Universidad de Nuevo León
San Nicolás, NL, 66451 Mexico
More information about the Protista