Differentiation of macrociliary cells on regenerating lips of the ctenophore Beroe was studied by transmission electron microscopy. In this study of early development, we found that basal bodies for macrocilia arise by an acentriolar pathway near the nucleus and Golgi apparatus, in close association with plaques of dense fibrogranular bodies. Procentrioles are often aligned side-by-side in double layers with the cartwheel ends facing outward toward the surrounding plaques of dense granules. Newly formed basal bodies then disband from groups and develop a long striated rootlet at one end. At the same time, an array of microfilaments arises in the basal cytoplasm. The microfilaments are arranged in parallel strands oriented toward the cell surface. The basal body-rootlet units are transported to the apical surface in close association with the assembling actin filament bundle. Microfilaments run parallel to and alongside the striated rootlets, to which they often appear attached. Basal body-rootlet units migrate at the heads of trails of microfilaments, as if they are pushed upwards by elongation of their attached actin filaments. Near the apical surface the actin bundle curves and runs below the cell membrane. Newly arrived basal body-rootlets tilt upwards out of the microfilament bundle to contact the cell membrane and initiate ciliogenesis. The basal bodies tilt parallel to the flat sides of the rootlets, and away from the direction in which the basal feet point. The actin bundle continues to enlarge during ciliogenesis. These results suggest that basal body migration may be driven by the directed assembly of attached actin filaments.

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