Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas vaginalis are protists that undergo closed mitosis: the nuclear envelope remains intact and the spindle remains extranuclear. Here we show, in disagreement with previous studies, that the axostyle does not disappear during mitosis but rather actively participates in it. We document the main structural modifications of the cell during its cell cycle using video enhanced microscopy and computer animation, bright field light microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. We propose six phases in the trichomonad's cell cycle: an orthodox interphase, a pre-mitotic phase, and four stages during the cell division process. We report that in T. foetus and T. vaginalis: a) all skeletal structures such as the costa, pelta-axostyle system, basal bodies, flagella, and associated filaments of the mastigont system are duplicated in a pre-mitotic phase; b) the axostyle does not disappear during mitosis, otherwise playing a fundamental role in this process; c) axostyles participate in the changes in the cell shape, contortion of the anterior region of the cell, and karyokinesis; d) flagella are not under assembly during mitosis, as previously stated by others, but completely formed before it; and e) cytokinesis is powered in part by cell locomotion.
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Vol. 47 • No. 5