Scanning Electron Microscopy


Cells of Paramecium caudatum were shock-frozen without pretreatment for cryoultramicrotomy and freeze-dried for subsequent X-ray microanalysis. Na, Mg, P, S, Cl, K, and Ca were detected in different amounts in several subcellular compartments. In particular, calcium was localized below the cell surface (pellicle). Trichocysts were found to contain significant amounts of Na in their base but not in the tip. Na, Mg, P, S, Cl, K, Ca were found in electron dense deposits within the lumen of the contractile vacuole. A small K concentration was found in the cytoplasm and in the mitochondria. X-ray microanalysis of the element distribution in different subcellular compartments provides information for the understanding of cellular functions such as exocytosis, locomotion, and ion regulation.

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