Cellular and clonal aging in the suctorian protozoan Tokophrya infusionum

Mech Ageing Dev. 1984 Aug;26(2-3):217-29. doi: 10.1016/0047-6374(84)90095-2.


Quantitative methods for the study of aging in single organisms of the suctorian protozoan Tokophrya infusionum are described. New cell lines are initiated by metamorphosis of a ciliated embryo to form a sessile adult. The life history of adult cells consists of a sequence of age-related stages, culminating in cessation of reproduction and feeding, and eventual death. Lifespans of single cells were measured and were found to range rather widely about a mean, even when the cells compared were closely related within a single lineage. Variation appears to be inherent in the aging process in Tokophrya. Clones of Tokophrya undergo a gradual deterioration on a scale many times longer than the lifespan of individual cells. Lifespans of individual cells were determined when each of two clones were relatively young and later when their reproductive vigor had begun to decline. In both cases, the lifespan of individual cells were strikingly reduced in the old, as opposed to the young clones. The two types of senescence are thus experimentally separable, but nonetheless coupled phenomena. The similarity of aging in Tokophrya to that of other protozoa, fungi, and tissue culture cells is described and possible mechanisms are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clone Cells / cytology
  • Eukaryota / cytology*
  • Eukaryota / growth & development
  • Time Factors