Vorticella – a Living Spring

Among microscopic aquatic creatures, it is the most bizarre. Vorticella looks like an upside down bell attached to a pull rope. That pull rope is actually a fibril or stalk called a myoneme,1 which has, running down its middle, an internal organelle. This spasmoneme contracts into a spring or corkscrew shape, as seen in the video below. Why is Vorticella of Interest Scientists are not ashamed to learn from the lowly creature. The contraction and elongation of its stalk appears to depend on the binding and re-release of calcium ions by the protein spasmin. What makes this of special interest is no ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is necessary to achieve the task, though ordinarily, it plays a vital role in muscle function. High Tech Plumbing? Curiously, it has been suggested this…
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