SUMMARY: Myxococci are distinguished from other bacteria by the complete lack of a cell membrane as well as of transverse septa. Even the microcyst is enclosed by an outer layer which differs from a bacterial cell wall. In cytological character the young stages in the life cycle resemble other bacteria in so far as they contain two to four small nuclear structures or ‘chromosomes’ arranged transversely in the cell and dividing longitudinally. Older organisms about to form microcysts differ; they contain two fairly large nuclear structures which fuse to form a round chromatinic body. At the same time the cell shortens until a round organism containing one large, round, darkly staining nuclear body is formed. This ‘fusion cell’ can be compared to a zygote though it is not yet the resting cell of the species. The fusion cell becomes oval, its nucleus divides into two, and its outer layer becomes tough and dense. Thus the microcyst is formed. When it germinates its outer layer disappears, and the cell is transformed by elongation into the young vegetative organism.


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