Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The tunicate,Metandrocarpa uedai, contains a large quantity of cellulose; however, it is not known how and where the cellulose is synthesized. Based on evidence from electron diffraction and conventional thin-sectioning for electron microscopy, this study shows that the glomerulocyte is involved in the synthesis of cellulose. The bundles of microfibrils in the glomerulocyte as well as the tunic were identified as cellulose I using selected area electron diffraction analysis. The diffraction pattern of cellulose in the glomerulocyte was similar to that from the tunic, suggesting that the crystallization of cellulose already is initiated in the glomerulocyte. The diameter of cellulose microfibrils, both in the glomerulocyte and the tunic was the same, about 16 nm. These results suggest that the glomerulocyte is the most probable site for the synthesis of cellulose in the tunic ofM. uedai. Using thin-sectioning techniques, a series of observations showed that individual microfibrils are primarily assembled in structures tentatively identified as vacuole-like structures, then they are bundled by a tapering region within the vacuole-like structures. These bundles of microfibrils are deposited in a continuously circular arrangement. The microtubules are oriented parallel to the bundles of microfibrils at the tapering vacuole-like structure, and they may be involved in the tapering of these structures (perhaps controlling the shape). This study also provides the first account for the involvement of a vacuole-like structure in the synthesis of cellulose microfibrils among living organisms.
Type of Medium: