An Example of Mechanical Co-ordination of Cilia


THE membranelles (compound cilia) of the protozoan Stentor are arranged in a single row around the oral end of the animal. Each membranelle swings through an angle of beat of about 140° in a plane at right angles to the row, while the metachronal waves pass along the row from one end to the other. It has been established1,2 that these membranelles are normally co-ordinated to beat in a metachronal rhythm by an internal transmission mechanism, so that the conduction of metachronal ‘impulses’ and the beating of the cilia are separable activities of the system, having quite different properties.

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    Sleigh, M. A., J. Exp. Biol., 33, 15 (1956).

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    Sleigh, M. A., J. Exp. Biol., 34, 106 (1957).

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    Aiello, E. L., Physiol. Zool., 33, 120 (1960).

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    Sleigh, M. A., Ph.D. thesis, University of Bristol (1956).

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    Gray, J., Proc. Roy. Soc., B, 107, 313 (1930).

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SLEIGH, M. An Example of Mechanical Co-ordination of Cilia. Nature 191, 931–932 (1961).

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