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Protist. 2009 Aug;160(3):452-79. doi: 10.1016/j.protis.2009.03.003. Epub 2009 Jun 12.

Helkesimastix marina n. sp. (Cercozoa: Sainouroidea superfam. n.) a gliding zooflagellate of novel ultrastructure and unusual ciliary behaviour.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.


Unlike Helkesimastix faecicola and H. major, Helkesimastix marina is marine, ingests bacteria, is probably also a cannibal, and differs in cell cycle ciliary behaviour. Daughter kinetids have mirror symmetry; pre-division cilia beat asymmetrically. We sequenced its 18S rDNA and studied its ultrastructure to clarify its taxonomy. Helkesimastix (Helkesimastigidae fam. n.) differs unexpectedly radically from cercomonads, lacking their complex microtubular ciliary roots, grouping not with them but with Sainouridae within Pansomonadida. Longitudinal cortical microtubules emanate from a dense apical centrosomal plate, where a striated rhizoplast attaches the nucleus, and two very short subparallel centrioles attach by dense fibres. The marginally more posterior centriole, attached to the centrosomal plate by a dense forked fibre, bears the long 9+2 gliding posterior cilium and a microtubular root; the left-side, nucleus-attached, left centriole bears an immotile ciliary stump with abnormal axoneme of nine disorganized mainly singlet microtubules, unlike the sainourid anterior papilla. Both transitional regions have a proximal lattice, the posterior centriole with slender hub. Sainouroidea superfam. n. (Sainouridae; Helkesimastigidae) have homologous cytoskeletal geometry. Dorsal Golgi dictyosome and posterior microbody are attached to the nuclear envelope, which has slender micro-invaginations and probably a cortical lattice. Bacteria are digested posteriorly in association with numerous mitochondria with flat cristae.

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