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Scanning and transmission electron microscopy of Trypanosoma congolense epimastigotes attached to a plastic substratum shows them to elaborate a complex flagellum filament system and plaque with a highly organized structure. Non-ionic detergent extraction of these cells shows that the resulting cytoskeletons remain attached to the plaque. The subpellicular corset of microtubules can be removed by salt or Ca2+ treatment leaving the axoneme, paraflagellar rod, associated filaments and the plaque. Neither of these treatments therefore removed the plaque-associated material from the substratum. Analysis of these fractions by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis reveals an abundant 70 kDa protein that is highly enriched in the salt extracted 'minimal plaque' structures and appears likely to be a major constituent of this structure. These studies reveal that the complex filament and microtubule systems of the cytoskeleton involved the attachment of trypanosomes to substrata and have established a method of biochemical fractionation of the structures and components involved.


Journal article



Publication Date



115 ( Pt 1)


47 - 55


Animals, Calcium, Cytoskeleton, Detergents, Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel, Flagella, Glass, Microscopy, Electron, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Microtubules, Plastics, Protozoan Proteins, Sodium Chloride, Trypanosoma congolense, Tubulin