The fluorochrome 3,3'-dihexyloxacarbocyanine iodide [DiOC(6)(3)], a vital dye utilized to stain the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of animal and plant cells, has been used to visualize the ER-type structures of Paramecium primaurelia under confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). The morphology of the ER has been studied in paramecia in different physiological conditions. Cells are analysed in early and late logarithmic growth phases, in stationary and in death phases, during shift-up by refeeding after starvation and shift-down by using a starvation medium. In log-phase growing paramecia, the ER constitutes an anastomosing membrane system consisting of short tubules and flattened sacs forming a peripheral network, which is abundant in the cortical region around the trichocysts and the ciliary basal bodies. The tubular network and cytoplasmic membranes are reduced in stationary-phase cells; the original conditions are restored in starved cells after refeeding. The analysis of serial optical sections collected by CLSM at 0.5 mu m intervals and three-dimensional reconstruction from these sections allow us to visualize differences between differently growing cells. (C)2000 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.
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