In frayed axonemes of cilia isolated from Tetrahymena Pyriformis, observed in negative stain, the central apparatus remains intact, stabilized in part by the sheath projections that encircle the two singlet central microtubules. The projections terminate ca. 1.5 ± 0.5 μm before the microtubules themselves end. The microtubules are capped together at their tips by a distinct structure, the central pair cap. The cap, ca. 50 nm across and 90 nm long, consists of a stack of two disks and a ball, similar in shape to a finial. The cap is the only part of the axoneme that extends to the distalmost point of the ciliary membrane and, therefore, it may be of significance in length determination or in shaping the ciliary tip.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology