Effects of steroid hormones on five functional parameters of Tetrahymena: Evolutionary conclusions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


The unicellular Tetrahymena pyriformis was studied for chemotaxis, chemotactic selection, phagocytosis, growth and body shape changes in the presence of water soluble (β-cyclodextrin-coupled) steroid hormones (testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, hydrocortisone and dexamethasone). Testosterone was chemoattractant over a wide range of concentrations, while progesterone and dexamethasone were active only at one concentration (10-5 and 10-6 mg ml-1 respectively) and were either neutral or repellent at other concentrations. Hydrocortisone and estradiol were unambiguously chemorepellent. Chemotactic selection enhanced the effect of testosterone and estradiol, while in the case of hydrocortisone the action was reversed. The other parameters were mildly influenced by the steroid hormones. The results call attention to the fine molecular recognition capacity of Tetrahymena and to the possible rapid effects of steroid hormones at membrane receptors at a very low evolutionary eukaryotic level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalCell biochemistry and function
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003



  • Chemotaxis
  • Growth
  • Phagocytosis
  • Steroid hormones
  • Tetrahymena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

Cite this