The cyst wall of Opisthonecta henneguyi has been studied ultrastructurally and cytochemically by light and electron microscopy, as well as by chemical and electrophoretic analyses, to examine the structure of the cyst wall and its composition. The cyst wall consists of four morphologically distinct layers. The ectocyst is a thin dense layer. The mesocyst is the thickest layer and is composed of a compact material. The endocyst is a thin layer like the ectocyst, but less dense. The granular layer varies in thickness and is composed of a granular material. In the resting cyst, kinetosomes of both oral apparatus and trochal band as well as the myoneme system are maintained, and only cilia are resorbed. The sugars present in the cyst wall are predominantly N-acetylglucosamine (90%) and glucose (10%). The mesocyst is composed of chitin, and the endocyst includes glycoproteins and acid mucopolysaccharides. During secretion of the cyst wall, the endocyst and granular layer are secreted from precursors synthesized “de novo”. No cytoplasmic precursors of ectocyst and mesocyst have been detected.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1