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Ingestion And Digestion Studies In Tetrahymena Pyriformis Based On Chemically Modified Microparticles.

Hendrike Dürichen, Lisa Siegmund, A. Burmester, M. Fischer, J. Woestemeyer
Published 2016 · Biology, Medicine

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Recognition of food and, in consequence, ingestion of digestible particles is a prerequisite for energy metabolism in Tetrahymena pyriformis. Understanding why some particles are ingested and digested, whereas others are not, is important for many fields of research, e.g. survival of pathogens in single-celled organisms or establishment of endosymbiotic relationships. We offered T. pyriformis synthetical bovine-serum-albumin (BSA)-methacrylate microparticles of approximately 5.5 μm diameter and studied the ciliates' ingestion and digestion behaviour. Different staining techniques as well as co-feeding with a transformant strain of Escherichia coli revealed that T. pyriformis considers these particles as natural food source and shows no feeding preference. Further, they are ingested at normal rates and may serve as sole food source. A pivotal advantage of these particles is the convenient modification of their surface by binding different ligands resulting in defined surface properties. Ingestion rate of modified microparticles either increased (additional BSA, enzymes) or decreased (amino acids). Furthermore, we investigated glycosylation patterns by lectin binding. By binding different substances to the surface in combination with various staining techniques, we provide a versatile experimental tool for elucidating details on food recognition and digestion that may allow to study evading digestion by pathogens or potential endosymbionts, too.
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