Genetic characterization of Tetrahymena thermophila mutants unable to secrete capsules

Dev Genet. 1992;13(2):160-6. doi: 10.1002/dvg.1020130210.


Under appropriate conditions, Alcian Blue-induced exocytosis of Tetrahymena mucocysts leads to formation of a capsule that surrounds the cell. This phenomenon is an example of regulated secretion, a mechanism of fundamental significance in eukaryotic cells. In order to dissect genetically the mechanism of mucocyst biogenesis and regulated exocytosis, mutants unable to form capsules (Caps-) were isolated. In this paper we report a genetic characterization of Caps- mutants in this collection. The mutations in mutants SB255 and SB281 behave as single recessive Mendelian mutations. The mutation in SB251 is restricted to the macronucleus, and could not be further characterized by the genetic methods we used. Complementation tests suggest the existence of at least 2 genes, named exoA and exoB; additional mutant loci are likely to be included in the mutant collection. Deletion mapping using nullisomic strains showed that exoA and exoB are located on the left arm of chromosome 4. The exo-3 mutation, which behaves as recessive and complements with exoA1 in SB255 and exoB2 in SB281, maps to chromosome 3. These Caps- mutants may be useful for the elucidation of the developmental pathway of mucocyst biogenesis and the control of regulated secretion in eukaryotic cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Mutation*
  • Tetrahymena thermophila / genetics*
  • Tetrahymena thermophila / metabolism


  • Mucins