Folia Parasitologica, vol. 61 (2014), issue 6

Folia Parasitologica 61[6] 549-557 (2014) | 10.14411/fp.2014.053

Ultrastructure and chemical composition of the proboscis hooks of Acanthocephalus lucii (Müller, 1776) (Acanthocephala: Palaeacanthocephala) using X-ray elemental analysis

Tímea Brázová1, Larisa G. Poddubnaya2, Noemí Ramírez Miss3, Vladimíra Hanzelová1
1 Institute of Parasitology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Košice, Slovakia;
2 I.D. Papanin Institute for Biology of Inland Waters, Russian Academy of Sciences, Borok, Yaroslavl Province, Russia;
3 Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN (CINVESTAV-IPN), Unidad Mérida, Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico

The ultrastructure and chemical composition of the proboscis hooks and surrounding tegument of Acanthocephalus lucii (Müller, 1776), a parasite of European perch, Perca fluviatilis Linnaeus, were examined using scanning (SEM) and transmission (TEM) electron microscopy and X-ray microanalysis (EDXA). The blade of middle hooks consists of three layers: an outer homogeneous layer, an inner heterogeneous layer and a central core. TEM observation revealed the presence of hollow tubes, which spaced the central core; fibrous inner hook layer surrounded by an electron-dense margin and the basal tegumental layer filled with electron-dense bodies and outer layer. We found for the first time that the so-called 'epidermal covering' surrounding of the exposed hook blade (outer hook layer) is a modified striped portion of the tegumental layer and there are no special contact sites between these two morphologically different structures, i.e. striped layer of the syncytial tegument and following proper outer hook layer, which is a homogeneous, moderately electron-dense layer of ~0.3 µm in thickness. The hook root is embedded into subtegumental fibrous layer. X-ray microanalysis of both the surface and internal parts of A. lucii hooks demonstrated the presence of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sulphur. The highest concentration of sulphur was recorded at the tip of hooks, whereas the middle part of the hooks was most rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. The proximal part of the hooks contained lower concentrations of sulphur, calcium and phosphorus. In the proboscis tegument, only two elements, calcium and silicon, were found. The differences observed in the chemical composition of the hook 'epidermal covering' and the proboscis tegument support our ultrastructural findings that the hook tegumental covering is a modified structure compared with that of the general proboscis tegument.

Keywords: scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, transmission electron microscopy, tegument, hooks

Received: December 6, 2013; Accepted: May 21, 2014; Prepublished online: August 25, 2014; Published: December 4, 2014


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