The Unicellular Tetrahymena as a Model Cellfor Receptor Research

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This chapter discusses the hormone reception of the tetrahymena. The tetrahymena, used as model cell in experiments, is a ciliated unicellular organism and as such a protozoan, the systematic position of which is very low in the phylogenetic order. As most ciliated unicellular organisms existing today are highly differentiated, they are considered primarily as independent organisms and only secondarily as single cells. As a unicellular organism, dependent greatly on its own resources for survival in a changing environment, the tetrahymena seems to be a suitable experimental model for the study of hormone receptors and their evolution. The superiority of the tetrahymena model to cells of higher organisms derives from the fact that it permits a comprehensive study of receptor formation and development from both the phylogenetic and the ontogenetic point of view—partly because the membrane of the tetrahymena is an intact structure with respect to hormonal influence and partly because, being a unicellular organism, its membrane is more dynamic than that of the cellular elements of organized tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-377
Number of pages51
JournalInternational Review of Cytology
Issue numberC
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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