Changes in the intracellular distribution of microtubules and microfilaments during amoeba-to-flagellate and flagellate-to-amoeba transformations in Physarum polycephalum were examined by fluorescence microscopy using anti-tubulin antibody and NBD-phallacidin, respectively. Amoebae contained an extensive microtubular cytoskeleton, which was converted to a flagellar cone structure during transformation to flagellates in liquid medium. When flagellates reverted back to amoebae, this conical structure disintegrated prior to flagella resorption. Amoebae showed some microfilament-enriched domains along the periphery, from which numerous filamentous extrusions, probably pseudopods and filopods, emanated. Flagellates contained a ridge, a sheet-like structure, along their dorsal axis, especially in the earlier stages of flagellation. Another microfilament-enriched thick filamentous structure ran along the dorsal axis, starting from the anterior tip of the cell. This structure apparently coincided spatially with one of the bundles of microtubules. During the reversion to amoebae, other localized microfilaments were transiently observed at the posterior end. A model of cytoskeletal changes in the transformations between these two cell types was proposed.
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