The unicellular ciliate Tetrahymena is a complete organism, one of the most highly developed protozoans, which has specialized organelles performing each of the functions characteristic to the cells of higher ranked animals. It is also able to produce, store, and secrete hormones of higher ranked animals and also react to them. It produces lectins that can bind them and has functions, which are influenced by exogenous lectins. The review lists the observations on the relationship between lectins and Tetrahymena and try to construe them on the basis of the data, which are at our disposal. Considering the data, lectins can be used by Tetrahymena as materials for influencing conjugation, for stimulating hormone receptors, and by this, mimic the hormonal functions. Lectins can influence phagocytosis and movement of the cells as well as the cell division. As Tetrahymena can recognize both related and hostile cells by the help of lectins and surface sugars, it could be surmised a complex predator-prey system. This could determine the survival of the population as well as the nourishment conditions. When Tetrahymena is pathogenic, it can use lectins as virulence factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)