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Motility, morphology and phylogeny of the plasmodial worm, Ceratomyxa vermiformis n. sp. (Cnidaria: Myxozoa: Myxosporea)

  • E. A. ADRIANO (a1) (a2) and B. OKAMURA (a2)

Summary

The Myxozoa demonstrate extensive morphological simplification and miniaturization relative to their free-living cnidarian ancestors. This is particularly pronounced in the highly derived myxosporeans, which develop as plasmodia and pseudoplasmodia. To date, motility in these stages has been linked with membrane deformation (e.g. as pseudopodia and mobile folds). Here we illustrate a motile, elongate plasmodium that undergoes coordinated undulatory locomotion, revealing remarkable convergence to a functional worm at the cellular level. Ultrastructural and confocal analyses of these plasmodia identify a highly differentiated external layer containing an actin-rich network, long tubular mitochondria, abundant microtubules, a secreted glycocalyx layer, and an internal region where sporogony occurs and which contains homogeneously distributed granular/fibrillar material. We consider how some of these features may support motility. We also describe the species based on spore morphology and SSU rDNA sequence data, undertake molecular phylogenetic analysis to place it within an early-diverging clade of the ceratomyxids, and evaluate the resultant implications for classification (validity of the genus Meglitschia) and for inferring early host environments (freshwater) of ceratomyxids.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP), Rua Professor Artur Riedel, 275, Jardim Eldorado, 09972-270 Diadema, SP, Brazil. E-mail: edapadriano@gmail.com

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