Archaea - Morphology


Individual archaea range from 0.1 micrometers (μm) to over 15 μm in diameter, and occur in various shapes, commonly as spheres, rods, spirals or plates. Other morphologies in the Crenarchaeota include irregularly shaped lobed cells in Sulfolobus, needle-like filaments that are less than half a micrometer in diameter in Thermofilum, and almost perfectly rectangular rods in Thermoproteus and Pyrobaculum. Haloquadratum walsbyi are flat, square archaea that live in hypersaline pools. These unusual shapes are probably maintained both by their cell walls and a prokaryotic cytoskeleton. Proteins related to the cytoskeleton components of other organisms exist in archaea, and filaments form within their cells, but in contrast to other organisms, these cellular structures are poorly understood. In Thermoplasma and Ferroplasma the lack of a cell wall means that the cells have irregular shapes, and can resemble amoebae.

Some species form aggregates or filaments of cells up to 200 μm long. These organisms can be prominent in biofilms. Notably, aggregates of Thermococcus coalescens cells fuse together in culture, forming single giant cells. Archaea in the genus Pyrodictium produce an elaborate multicell colony involving arrays of long, thin hollow tubes called cannulae that stick out from the cells' surfaces and connect them into a dense bush-like agglomeration. The function of these cannulae is not settled, but they may allow communication or nutrient exchange with neighbors. Multi-species colonies exist, such as the "string-of-pearls" community that was discovered in 2001 in a German swamp. Round whitish colonies of a novel Euryarchaeota species are spaced along thin filaments that can range up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long; these filaments are made of a particular bacteria species.

Read more about this topic:  Archaea

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Morphology may mean:

  • Morphology (linguistics), the study of the structure and content of word forms
  • Morphology (biology), the study of the form or shape of an organism or part thereof
  • Morphology (molecular), study of how the shape and form of molecules affect their chemical properties, dynamic reconfiguration and interactions
  • Morphology (astronomy), the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies, or other extended objects
  • Morphology (folkloristics), the structure of narratives such as folk tales
  • Geomorphology, the study of landforms
  • Mathematical morphology, a theoretical model based on lattice theory, used for digital image processing
  • Morphology (Architecture and Engineering), a research, which is based on theories of two dimensional and three dimensional symmetries, and then uses these geometries for planning buildings and structures.
  • River morphology, the field of science dealing with changes of river platform
  • Urban morphology, the study of growth and development of functions in cities
  • Morphological analysis (disambiguation)
  • Morphology (materials science), the study of shape, size, texture and phase distribution of physical objects.
  • Morphology (ideology), the study of the conceptual structure of ideologies, and the rules defining the admissibility of meanings into concepts.
  • Morphology (journal), ISSN 1871-5621

Famous quotes containing the word morphology:

    I ascribe a basic importance to the phenomenon of language.... To speak means to be in a position to use a certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of this or that language, but it means above all to assume a culture, to support the weight of a civilization.
    Frantz Fanon (1925–1961)