Ultrastructure of the flagellar apparatus of the green alga Tetraselmis subcordiformis - With special consideration given to the function of the rhizoplast and rhizanchora

J. L. Salisbury, J. A. Swanson, G. L. Floyd, R. Hall, Nita J. Maihle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The ultrastructure of the flagellar apparatus of the marine quadriflagellate green alga Tetraselmis subcordiformis is described in detail. Special consideration is given to the functional significance of the contractile rhizoplast and also to a complex structure which anchors the flagellar apparatus to the cell membrane and theca. The flagellar apparatus lies at the base of a deep apical depression. Four basal bodies lie in a zigzag row with their long axes nearly parallel. Outer adjacent pairs of basal bodies are structurally linked by a Z-shaped, ribbon-like structure. A striated fiber (transfiber) connects each outer basal body with the inner basal body of the opposite, mirror image pair. A complex system of four laminated oval discs (rhizanchora), microtubule rootlets and fibrous material anchor the flagellar apparatus and rhizoplasts to the plasma membrane and theca. A 4-2-4-2 arrangement of microtubule rootlets is present. Rhizoplasts, which are contractile organelles, branch into five distinct arms and associate with the near outer basal body and each of the four rhizanchora. Rhizoplast contraction is thought to be linked to flagellar activity and may act to alter the direction of motion of the cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1981



  • Flagellar apparatus
  • Green algae
  • Rhizoplast
  • Rootlets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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