A natural toroidal microswimmer with a rotary eukaryotic flagellum

Nat Microbiol. 2019 Oct;4(10):1620-1626. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0478-6. Epub 2019 Jun 10.


We describe Idionectes vortex gen. nov., sp. nov., a unicellular microeukaryote that swims by continuous inversion of its surface, similar to a vortex ring. This previously unreported mode of motility approximates a hypothetical concept called the 'toroidal swimmer', in which a doughnut-shaped object rotates around its circular axis and travels in the opposite direction to its outer surface motion. During swimming, the flagellum of Idionectes rotates relative to its cell body, which is normally a hallmark of prokaryotic rather than eukaryotic flagella.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • Eukaryota / classification*
  • Eukaryota / cytology
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Eukaryota / physiology*
  • Flagella / physiology*
  • Fresh Water / parasitology
  • Locomotion*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protoplasts / parasitology
  • Pseudopodia
  • Species Specificity
  • Zygnematales / parasitology