Definition: What are Pseudopods?

Also recognized as pseudopodia (singular noun: pseudopodium), pseudopods space temporary expansions of the cytoplasm (also described as false feet) offered for locomotion and feeling. They can be discovered in every sarcodines as well as a number of flagellate protozoa the either exist as parasites or as totally free living organisms.

In greater animals, pseudopods can be observed in a number of leukocytes (phagocytic cells) that usage the framework to trap and also destroy invading microbes. Depending upon the kind of cell, there are four main types that not only vary in appearance (and general morphology), but additionally have different functions.

For instance, in some organisms, pseudopods save microtubules that substantially contribute to cabinet movement. 


There space four varieties of pseudopods the include:




Line art illustration of one amoeba at Archives that Pearson Scott Foresman, donated to the Wikimedia FoundationPearson Scott Foresman

Types the Pseudopodia


Filopodia are slender actin-based frameworks that serve sensory and locomotory functions. Like various other pseudopods, filopodia are cellular protrusions and thus expand from the cell surface. However, contrasted to pseudopods found in single-celled organisms, filopodia are mostly uncovered in part cells of multicell organisms wherein they prolong into the extracellular matrix and are connected in signaling.

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* Some single-celled organisms such together members the the genus Dictyostelium usage filopodia for feeding. 

Filopodia Formation

The development of filopodia starts v the nucleation of actin filaments under the affect of nucleators (a group of proteins). Although two models have been proposed to describe filopodia initiation (induction), the procedure appears to be triggered by the binding the GTPase Cdc42 to an important regulator well-known as N-WASP.

This results in the activation of N-WASP which subsequently binds come Profilin and Arp2/3 to type a complicated that nucleates the formation of a brand-new pseudopod.

Although two models of filopodia initiation have been proposed , these gift convergent elongation model and also the guideline nucleation model, additional studies have shown that they space not support exclusive.

According to this studies, the 2 models deserve to actually co-exist an especially when considering the diverse and variable nature of this structures. 


With regards come structure, filopodia are slender, cylindrical protrusions that selection between 100 and also 200nm in diameter and 10um in length. However, some of the filopodia ~ above the cabinet surface room extremely quick barely protruding native the cabinet surface. These filopodia are recognized as microspikes.

The actin filaments (10 come 30) comprise the central core that the structure. Here, the filaments space tightly packed together in a parallel manner to form the column of the pseudopod. 

Within the filopodia, the filaments overlap and are set in uniform polarity; where the barbed finish of the filament is oriented towards the filopodial tip of the structure. The barbed wind increase in the tip facility that consists of actin-binding proteins and filaments. In ~ the base an ar of the pseudopod, the filaments run right into the actin internet located in ~ the cell membrane. 

While the addition of actin monomers come the actin filaments occur at the guideline of the framework as the extends in length, the filaments have been presented to continually bicycle backward in the direction of the base through a retrograde flow which is myosin-dependent. It"s the rate in between this flow and also monomer addition at the peak that impacts the overall rate of growth.

Based ~ above electron tomography studies, findings have shown this growth to be at a rate of about 0.2um/s (which deserve to increase to about 25um a minute) before the framework reaches the critical length. At this point, filopodia will either produce brand-new actin structures or start retracting.

Having reached the crucial length, part filopodia have been presented to bind and fuse v the plasma membrane developing actin bundles. 


* Filopodia room flexible sufficient to tide in the extracellular matrix. However, they are also sufficiently strong which permits the structural integrity to it is in maintained even when the structure extends to over 30um in length.

Some the the most common types of filopodia include:


· Cytonemes - uncovered in the wings of Drosophila species, this type of filopodia can grow to end 800um where they are affiliated in cell to cell communication 


· Myopodia - A form of filopodia that can be found on the cell surface of muscle cells where they intermingle with other types of filopodia.


In multicell organisms, filopodia play a variety of physiological attributes including wound healing, cabinet signaling and also cell development. Provided that filopodia extend into the extracellular matrix, they are able to feeling chemicals in their bordering which in turn permits the cabinet to answer appropriately.

Here, receptors in ~ filopodia receive chemical information in the extracellular procession which is then transmitted downwards to the cabinet (through a signaling pathway). 

In the extracellular matrix, filopodia may determine targets compelled for adhesion which allows for the generation of accuse cues and traction forces that eventually contributes come the movement of the cell. Through this process, cells are capable of such tasks as axonal path finding and also adhesion come epithelial cell that contribute to cell migration. 


* Filopodia also contribute to adhesion zippering, a procedure where they take part in cell alignment and also adhesion the reduces the gap in between cells.


Like filopodia, axopodia room long and thin protrusions native the cells. However, they are much more rigid (and thus appear needle-like) than filopodia which has tendency to be an ext flexible in nature. They deserve to be found on the cell surface of various organisms (e.g. Members the the phylum Antinopoda) whereby they are associated in feeding and also locomotion. 


In this organisms, axopodium (Sin. Axopodium) originate from axoplasts (a membrane-bound cavity close to the cell nucleus that consists of microfibrillar material and granulum). Here, the microfibrils theorem to construct the walls of microtubules which then type parallel rows that room joined by links.

Based on microscope studies, these microtubules have actually been displayed to form interlocking dual coils (with about 500 tubules producing about 5 turns of the coil). 

The microtubules make up the main point of the axoneme (which is the central part the the axopodia) operation along the entire length that the structure. Apart from the microtubules, the framework is additionally composed that cytoplasm i m sorry carries together organelles together mitochondria to and from the cytosome. 


* In a cell, axopodia emerge from axoplasts v pores located on the capsule wall. Relying on the organism, this pores vary in size and numbers. Conversely, polycystines have been presented to contain countless of these pores, phaeodarians contain about three of these pores.

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The shortening the axopodia has been presented to occur throughout feeding. For instance, having caught food, the fast contraction has actually been shown to occur as result of the break down of microtubules. Following the contraction, the axopods then start elongating at the normal price until they with the normal length.


Some the the main attributes of axopodia include:


·  strictly - together such, they are much more resistant to bending compared to the other pseudopods

· Thin and also elongated - Needle-like

· During unfavorable conditions, they can retract (rapid contraction) wherein the filaments space reabsorbed complying with the dispersion that fibrils in the axoplasm

· Axopodia microtubules have actually a diameter of around 220 A

· Axopodia are additionally lost throughout cell division 

· Have a sticky surface ar which is attributed to the visibility of extrusomes 



For together organisms as members of the course Actinopoda, axopodia play critical role in feeding. As already mentioned, axopodia have a difficult substance top top their surface ar that is developed by mucocysts. In addition, they also possess kinetocysts that eject thread-like structures that properly trap their prey.

Using these extrusomes, these organisms are able to trap food material (or prey) which space then transported come the cell body through the cytoplasmic stream. While smaller sized prey have the right to be trapped and also captured through a single axopodiaum, bigger ones are entangled in numerous axopodia. In some cases, number of individuals have been shown to participate in trapping larger prey. 

Support and Locomotion

Apart from feeding, axopodia have also been presented to help maintain protists in position in water and also even contribute to locomotion. For instance, with a controlled change in length of axopods, a number of heliozoa have been shown effectively transverse in aquatic environments. This, in various other organisms, is completed through the expansion and contraction the ectoplasmic secret located in between the axopodia.

Here, the biology is able to continue to be in position or control the direction to which they look for to move. During cell division, both the axopodia and ectoplasm space lost leading to the biology to sink come the bottom.