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Cytology and Kinetics of microgametogenesis and fertilization in Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis

  • R. E. Sinden (a1) and N. A. Croll (a1)


The sexual development of the microgametocyte of Plasmodium yoelii nigeriensis may be subdivided into microgametogenesis which includes exflagellation, dispersal of the gametes and fertilization. Under our experimental conditions microgametogenesis takes about 8–15 min at 20 °C, the duration of this period being inversely related to temperature. Exflagellation takes less than 1 min, subsequent dispersal of gametes may continue for 40 min. We find that exflagellation is totally inhibited in vitro by temperatures of 30 °C and above, and by certain invertebrate tissue culture media. Exflagellation may occur within a persistent host cell plasmalemma, which seriously impedes the escape of the 8 microgametes. Microgametes move by sinusoidal or helical waves which may be rapid (10 waves/s), slow (< 1 wave/s) or they may be immobile. Microgamete activity, which is alternately rapid/slow or slow/immobile, declines linearly with time. Fertilization which takes less than 1 min results from characteristic behavioural changes by the microgamete; vibratory waves are responsible for the penetration of the macrogamete by the microgamete. The microgamete completely enters the macrogamete and therein continues its cyclical activity.



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