Home Page Science Frontiers
ONLINE

No. 37: Jan-Feb 1985

Issue Contents





Other pages


Other Interesting Sites


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

Parasites may reprogram host's cell

The long, segmented filament shown in the illustration consists of the cells of a parasite that preys on the cells of red algae. Two such cells abut the parasitic filament. The small black circles are parasitic cell nuclei which, when confronted with a red alga cell, become wrapped in small "conjuctor cells" which are then somehow transferred to the host cell on the right. The actual transfer involves the formation on the host cell wall of a sort of dimple called a "secondary pit connection." (Why this forms is not known.) Once inside the host cell, the parasite nucleus and/or the cytoplasm transferred with it dramatically reprograms host cell operations. The host cell shifts into highgear food production, enlarging up to twenty times its normal size. The host cell wall thickens, its nuclei (large black circles) and chloroplasts multiply. Adjacent cells (left) remain unaffected.

(Lewin, Roger; "New Regulatory Mechanism of Parasitism," Science, 226:427, 1984.)

Comment. It is one thing for external stresses to stimulate cell reprogramming, but quite another when another species inserts its programs into those of the host. Is this another way of producing "hopeful monsters?"

Parasitic filament growing between host cells A parasitic filament growing between host cells, showing how parasite nuclei are first enclosed in bud-like conjunctor cells and then inserted into the host cell.

From Science Frontiers #37, JAN-FEB 1985. 1985-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987