The amoeboid locomotion of has been studied by observation of individual cells moving on a planar glass substratum. Cell-substratum interactions involved in traction have been observed by reflexion interference microscopy. A variable part of the ventral surface of formed a protean platform, the ‘associated contact’, from which filopodia were subtended; these established stable, focal adhesions (approximately 0.4 μm diameter) on the substratum beneath. Surprisingly, acanthopodia, a prominent feature of this protozoon, did not play an obvious role in traction. The dimensions of the cell-substratum gap in the associated contact could be modulated by the concentration of ambient electrolyte. Dilution of electrolyte from 50 m-KCl to 2 m resulted in (i) an increase in the cell-substratum gap, (ii) a marked decrease in cell motility, (iii) reduced cell adhesion to glass.


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