Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The morphological and ultrastructural characteristics of the cyanobacterium Mastigocladus laminosus growing under N2-fixing conditions were examined with light and electron microscopy. Vegetative cells in narrow filaments contained randomly arranged segments of thylakoid membrane, centrally located carboxysomes (polyhedral bodies), peripherally located lipid bodies, and large numbers of polysaccharide granules in addition to nuclear material and ribosomes. The ultrastructural characteristics of cells in wide filaments were similar, except for increased numbers of carboxysomes and lipid bodies. Heterocytes and proheterocysts developed at a variety of locations in narrow filaments, wide filaments, and the lateral branches off of wide filaments. Akinetes were not observed in any of the filaments. The morphological characteristics of heterocysts and proheterocysts were variable and depended on those of the vegative cells from which the heterocysts and proheterocysts developed. Mature M. laminosus heterocysts were somewhat similar to those formed in other cyanobacterial genera, but they possessed a number of distinct and unique ultrastructural characteristics, including (i) the absence of a fibrous and, possibly, a laminated wall layer, (ii) the presence many closely packed membranes throughout most of the cytoplasm, and (iii) the presence of unidentified, spherical inclusion bodies of variable electron density.
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