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Flagella are whiplike structures that usually occur one to a few per cell and have an undulating motion. Cilia are shorter and move in concert, like oars, with alternating power and recovery strokes. Sporozoa are either nonmotile or very slow. Other organelles that are widely distributed among protozoa include food vacuoles, in which ingested particles are digested, and lysosomes that Protozoa fuse with food vacuoles and supply digestive enzymes. Contractile vacuoles, common in freshwater protozoa, eliminate water that moves into the cells by osmosis.

This asexual mode of reproduction leads to rapid population growth of a clone of genetically identical cells. However, sex is widespread in protozoa and complicated life histories do exist. Sexuality is associated with environmental change and interrupts asexual reproduction; sex in protozoa usually marks the end of the existence of a genetically unique individual, when it becomes the gamete (reproductive cell) or gametes. Protozoa are ubiquitous (found everywhere); they are present in all aquatic or moist environments, and their cysts can be found in even the most inhospitable parts of the biosphere.

The disease cystic fibrosis has now been defined as mutations in a particular gene that codes for a cell membrane protein that functions to pump chloride ions out of the cell. This protein in cystic fibrosis is defective in this function because the amino acid sequence is different from normal. SEE ALSO Amino Acid; Enzymes; Genetic Diseases; Membrane Transport; Nuclear Transport; Protein Synthesis; Protein Targeting Byron Anderson Bibliography Alberts, Bruce, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 4th ed.

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