Research Article

The formation and turnover of the membranocalyx on the tegument of Schistosoma mansoni

R. A. Wilsona1 and P. E. Barnesa1

a1 Department of Biology, University of York, Heslington, York

The multilaminate vesicles present in the tegument cytoplasm appear to fuse with side channels projecting out into the cytoplasm from the base of the surface pits. Their lamellate contents then unroll and spread out to form a trilaminate membranocalyx lining the pits and covering the tegument surface. The plant lectin concanavalin A appears to stabilize the process of vesicle fusion leading to an aggregation of multilaminate vesicles trapped in the lumen of the surface pits. The membranocalyx can be labelled with cationized ferritin. Chase incubations in normal medium indicate that by 4 h most of the label and the membranocalyx to which it is bound have been lost to the medium. This suggests that under the conditions of these experiments the membranocalyx has a half-life of 2–3 h.

(Received July 20 1976)