Abstract

The secretion process of the siliceous skeleton in polycystine radiolarians has drawn a great deal of interest during the last century; however, little is known about the actual physiological process of silica deposition. Recently, the PDMPO (2-(4-pyridyl)-5-[(4-(2-dimethylaminoethylaminocarbamoyl) methoxy)-phenyl] oxazole) method for staining silica deposition sites in polycystines was developed. In the present study we examined over 30 polycystine cells with PDMPO and found that both the skeletons and pseudopodia of three species (Lithelius sp., Rhizosphaera trigonacantha and Arachnosphaera hexasphaera) were stained and emitted green fluorescent light. Staining of the skeleton was probably the result of skeletal thickening growth, whereas staining of the pseudopodia may indicate that siliceous matter is assimilated within pseudopodia. We refer to this hypothesis as the ‘pseudopodial silica absorption hypothesis’ (PSA hypothesis). If this hypothesis is correct, PSA is an intermittent process, and the absorbed silica within pseudopodia is quickly transferred to the cytokalymma where it is deposited on the skeleton. To date, the PSA process has been observed in only the three species cited above; therefore we are unable to evaluate whether the PSA process is unique to these species or a common process that occurs in all polycystines; further investigation is necessary.

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