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Protistology 8 (3), 125–127 (2014)
Hausmann K., Radek R. (Eds.)
Ultrastructure and cell biology, function and systematics, symbiosis and biodiversity.
Schweizerbart Science Publishers, Stuttgart, 2014. 299 p. Price: 39.80 Euro (hard-cover,
ISBN 978-3-510-65287-7). The Book can be ordered at http://www.schweizerbart.
Unicellular eukaryotes, or the protists, represent
a distinct life type organization which is different
from the multicellular life. The world of these
single-celled organisms is primarily comprised
of flagellated and ciliated creatures because most
protists possess flagella or cilia at certain stages of
their life cycle. In the new book, Klaus Hausmann,
Renate Radek and their 15 coauthors summarize
numerous aspects of cilia/flagella structural and
functional organization and ciliate/flagellate
biology. The table of contents of this volume includes a short Preface and an attractive Introduction,
14 most informative chapters organized in 7 sections
(Ultrastructure, Cell Biology, Motility, Taxonomy
and Systematics, Symbiosis, Biodiversity, Retroand Prospective), Addendum including the curricula vitae of contributors, scientific humor division
and acknowledgements, and a useful Index.
The Preface recounts that the book considers
“an up-to-date summary describing the state of our
understanding of cilia/flagella and ciliates/flagellates … without biochemical and genetic aspects”.
Nevertheless, modern molecular and genetic data
are used extensively, referred to broadly throughout
many chapters, and are skillfully interwoven with the
general contents of the book.
In the Introductory chapter “Cilia and Flagella
– Ciliates and Flagellates”, K. Hausmann and
R. Radek provide a clear and comprehensive
interpretation of the universal features of cilia
and flagella, their role in cell motility, and general
characteristics of ciliated and flagellated protists.
The chapter “Cellular Architecture, Growth,
Morphogenesis, Chemoattractants, and Loose
Ends” by G.A. Antipa gives the history of research
on the fascinating cytoarchitecture and digestion
of Didinium. Further, there is an excellent account
of the chemoattraction process between Didinium
and Paramecium. The chapter also comprises the
synthesis of studies on morphogenetic sequences
in ciliates, including the description of basal body
formation and morphogenesis of the thigmotactic
field in Conchophthirus curtus. This section of the
book closes with an important statement that we
need a better mechanism to merge the ideas from
molecular and organismic biology which can cement
and explain the evolutionary relationships more
The chapter “Ejection, Ingestion, Digestion,
and Expulsion in Ciliates” by K. Hausmann deals
with light and electron microscopical studies of
extrusomes, trichocysts and toxicysts, structures
which are involved in food uptake and segregation
of ingesta, and contractile vacuolar complex in
ciliates. All those high-quality structural studies
bring us nearer to the understanding of how such
important parts of the ciliate cell operate as extrusive
organelles or contractile vacuoles. The author
concludes the chapter with a profound idea that
modern structural studies are still of great necessity
for better understanding of behavior, physiology and
biochemistry of protists.
The chapter “A Song of Praise for Paramecium
as a Model in Vesicle Trafficking – A Sotto Voce
Praise in Retrospect with certain Reservation”
by H. Plattner summarizes some of the results
on vesicle trafficking, docking and membrane
fusion, exo-endocytosis and calcium signaling in
a Paramecium cell which have opened the door for
exploring numerous fundamental issues of general
cell and molecular biology. The stunning results
obtained with the model Paramecium clearly show
© 2014 The Author(s)
Protistology © 2014 Protozoological Society Affiliated with RAS
Sergei Skarlato
that this system still has a future in the forthcoming
The chapter “Ciliate Mating Types and Pheromones” by P. Luporini, C. Alimenti and A. Vallesi
starts with the history of our knowledge of ciliate
mating types and ends with a detailed description
of various structures, three-dimensional conformations, gene and multiple amino acid sequences of
pheromones, which play a key role in communication between individuals of the same species of
ciliates during conjugation and autogamy.
In the chapter “Encounters with Cilia”, M.A.
Sleigh presents a careful and clearly described
treatment of cilia/flagella movement in model
protozoan species. This is followed by the assessment of implications of this knowledge for understanding ciliary metachronism and propulsion of
water and mucus in several unicellular and multicellular organisms, and finalized by the overview
of control of ciliary activity. I have always been
wondering how the universality of the 9×2+2 pattern
of fibrils in both flagella and cilia can harmonize
with their ability to perform quite different modes
of dynamics and beat patterns. This chapter gives, at
least in part, the answer to this crucial question.
The following chapter “How do Protists keep
up?” by H. Machemer is devoted to the indepth
analysis of the investigations of ciliates’ mechanosensitivity, motility, gravitaxis and behavior. According to the results obtained, gravikinesis in protists
takes an intermediate position between classical
kinesis and taxis.
The chapter “Ctenophores and Termites –
Systems for Motility” by S.L. Tamm deals with
the vast field of studies of structure, development,
regeneration, motility, mechanosensitivity, membrane movements, electrical conduction and
behavior in model organisms of several so-called
simple invertebrates, with special reference to the
intriguing mechanisms that coordinate the beating
of fields of cilia in ctenophores and flagella in termite
D.H. Lynn, the author of the chapter “Kinetids,
Concepts, and Coincidence”, clearly shows how the
transformative idea on structural conservatism of the
kinetid had led to establishing a new macrosystem
of ciliates which was later supported, to a certain
degree, by studies of molecular phylogenies of these
protists. An account of Lynn’s research career is
neatly interspersed with instructive stories about
profitability of “small” and “big” concepts as well
as about benefits and sometimes not easy situations
which may arise during the cooperation and/or
competition among different scientific groups.
The chapter “On Algal and other Protist Flagella
and Cilia” by Ø. Moestrup records an impressive
history of flagella and cilia studies from early days of
light microscopy to the present days of modern cell
biology. The broad-scale comparative research on
these elaborate structures of locomotion has led the
author to a hypothesis that, in spite of the fact that
the first eukaryotic flagellum arose as a single
organelle, the biflagellate condition for the ancestral
eukaryote was probably the most successful in the
evolution. The chapter concludes that, although the
flagellum structure and functions have been modified many times in different groups of unicellular
organisms, the 9×2+2 axoneme and the 9×3 basal
body structures remain strikingly conservative
throughout the entire eukaryotic “tree of life”.
Clarifying patterns of endosymbiosis is a pivotal
issue in modern cell biology of protists. In the chapter “Insights into the Paramecium-Holospora and
Paramecium-Chlorella Symbioses” M. Fujishima
and Y. Kodama present a comprehensive synthesis
of the recent studies on the re-establishment of this
phenomenon between Paramecium caudatum and
symbiotic bacteria species Holospora and between
P. bursaria and its cytoplasmic endosymbiont,
Chlorella variabilis. The allure of this chapter is that
it allows understanding of how a symbiont invades
the host cell, avoids digestion in the cytoplasm and
grows within the host cell, and what molecular
mechanisms underlie these processes.
Another important chapter, “Prokaryotic Endosymbionts in Ciliates”, written by H.-D. Görtz also
discusses the unique structures, life and infection
cycles of intracellular microorganisms in ciliates.
Special attention is paid to the Paramecium species
infected with Holospora-like symbionts. The author
correctly states that in the endosymbiosis studies,
ciliates have always been those very organisms
providing most important information on the issue
during the last 130 years.
The chapter “Symbionts of Symbionts –Termite
Flagellates and their Bacterial Associations” by R.
Radek and J.F.H. Strassert includes an extensive
overview of the symbiosis in protists, with major
aspects of the interactions between prokaryotic
microbiota and flagellates (parabasalids and oxymonads) in the hindgut of lower termites and wood
roach Cryptocercus.
The chapter “Smallest Protists in the Deepest
Depths – Flagellates from Abyssal Sea Floors” deals
with the deep-sea protists, in particular flagellates
which were sampled, successfully cultivated and
studied by K. Hausmann and his colleagues. Their
findings clearly challenge the earlier conception
Protistology ·
of low protistan species richness on the abyssal sea
floor and substantiate a fruitful perspective of further
protistan diversity studies in the deep underwater
Lastly, J. Boenigk in the Chapter “Five Decades
of Research in Protistology – What have we
learned?” takes the reader through the history of
protistological research, in particular during the
last 50 years, explaining briefly but clearly the
impact of this research on our understanding of
the world of flagellates and ciliates. He states that
studies of unicellular eukaryotes have been strongly
influenced by the historic developments of general
biology, other associated disciplines and innovative
technologies which undoubtedly should help the
budding scientists better predict future discoveries
in the remarkable field of Protistology.
Some words should be said on the technical
quality of this edition. The book with its hard
cover and attractive format is written brightly
and is easy to follow. It is well illustrated by 233
figures, including line drawings of consistently high
quality, aesthetically beautiful light- and electron
microscopic images, illustrating various features
of protistan biology. All the chapters draw together
the important relevant literature; references are
conveniently organized at the end of each chapter.
It was a great pleasure for me to read this book, and
I congratulate the editors, Klaus Hausmann and
Renate Radek, as well as all other 15 contributors
for creating an excellent volume on ciliated and
flagellated eukaryotic microorganisms.
I recommend this book without hesitation
to all advanced students of biology, professional
scientists who work with and love protists, and to
anyone who wishes to deepen the knowledge and
unfold the unique world of these amazingly graceful
and environmentally important single-celled organisms.
Sergei O. Skarlato
Address for correspondence: Sergei O. Skarlato. Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences,
Tikhoretsky Avenue 4, St. Petersburg, 194064, Russia; e-mail:
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10429, book, review
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