Ultrastructural features of the apical complex, pellicle, and membranes investing the gamonts of Haemogregarina magna (Apicomplexa: Adeleina).


Mature gamonts of Haemogregarina magna lie within a type of parasitophorous vacuole (Pv) apparently unique to the haemogregarines. The cytoplasm of infected erythrocytes was separated from the parasite by two Pv membranes. An additional membrane, coated on both sides with electron-dense material, closely invested the gamonts. The apical complex of the gamonts includes a conoid, two preconoidal rings, and an elaborate polar ring complex. The latter consisted of the polar ring and approximately 78 posteriorly directed, radially arranged, "tine-like" structures which fuse as they merge anteriorly into the polar ring. Freeze fracture replicas demonstrated that the pellicle of gamonts of H. magna was structurally similar to that of other apicomplexans. The closely apposed inner membranes of the pellicle formed plates which were arranged into strips along the long axis of the gamont. Calculations indicated that 13 such strips are found around the circumference of the gamonts with about six subpellicular microtubules associated with the inner surface of each strip. Gamonts of H. magna share many structural similarities with the kinetes, ookinetes, and sporokinetes of other apicomplexans. We propose that the conoid and polar ring complex are fundamental features of all apicomplexan "kinetes."


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