Chemotactic effect of mono- and disaccharides on the unicellular Tetrahymena pyriformis

Carbohydr Res. 2015 Apr 30;407:158-65. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2015.02.009. Epub 2015 Mar 2.


Chemotaxis is one of the most essential cell physiological responses, which was developed in parallel the molecular evolution of signal molecules. Previously good correlations were found between chemotactic moieties and physicochemical properties (SEA, solubility, pKa) of peptide type ligands in Tetrahymena model. However, references are rather weak in eukaryotic chemotaxis about significance of simple carbohydrates. In the present work our goal is (i) to investigate the chemotactic effect of 10 mono- and disaccharides in the eukaryotic Tetrahymena pyriformis; (ii) to describe effective ligands with physicochemical parameters; (iii) to test whether sugars are acting via induction of metabolic pathways. Our results are: (i) the tested sugars can trigger both significant attractant (D-glucose, D-mannose) and significant repellent (D-glucosamine, D-fructose, N-acetyl-D-galactosamine, D-arabinose) effects, while some of the sugars (maltose, lactose, sucrose, D-galactose) had no effect. (ii) Correlations were described between the chemotactic effectiveness of the ligands and their physicochemical characters (TPSA, XLogP), which are supposed to influence the internalization of the sugars. (iii) All ligands proved to have low selection potential, which refers to a 'short-term' receptor moiety or influencing specific metabolic pathways. (iv) Starvation elicited modified, strong chemoattractive responsiveness towards glucose; however, it was independent of concentration while 1 h insulin treatment resulted in an increased and concentration dependent chemotaxis induced by glucose.

Keywords: Chemotaxis; Saccharide; Selection; TPSA; Tetrahymena; XLogP.

MeSH terms

  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Chemotaxis / drug effects*
  • Disaccharides / metabolism
  • Disaccharides / pharmacology
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways / drug effects
  • Monosaccharides / metabolism
  • Monosaccharides / pharmacology
  • Tetrahymena pyriformis / drug effects
  • Tetrahymena pyriformis / physiology*


  • Carbohydrates
  • Disaccharides
  • Insulin
  • Monosaccharides