Autogamy in Paramecium. Cell cycle stage-specific commitment to meiosis.
Autogamy is a process of meiosis and fertilization which takes place in unpaired Paramecium cells, and which is triggered by starvation. This study examines the consequences of nutritional down-shift at various points within the cell cycle on the occurrence of autogamy. It shows that cells become committed to autogamy in a two-step process. An initial point of commitment to autogamy occurs about 100 min prior to the median time of cell division (cell cycle duration, 330 min). Cells which have become committed to autogamy initiate meiosis following the next fission, others complete another vegetative cell cycle before undergoing meiosis. Treatments that perturb the cell cycle and displace the point of commitment of division also displace the point of initial commitment to autogamy to the same extent. The initial commitment to autogamy can be reversed by refeeding. The second, final, point of commitment to autogamy occurs about 30 min after the fission, immediately prior to initiation of meiosis, and coincides with the beginning of meiosis. If cells are refed at this point, or at later stages, autogamy continues. Autogamy is not well synchronized either in naturally starved cultures or in those subjected to abrupt nutritional down-shift. This is a consequence of the cell cycle stage dependence of entry into autogamy. Autogamy occurs synchronously in samples of dividers selected from asynchronous cultures 2 or more hours after nutritional down-shift. The timing of the events of conjugation and autogamy coincide when the pre-autogamous fission is aligned temporally with the initial contact of mating cells.
PMID: 3743667 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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