Microsporidian spore wall: Ultrastructural findings on Encephalitozoon hellem exospore

Elisa Bigliardi, Maria Gloria Selmi, Pietro Lupetti, Silvia Corona, Simonetta Gatti, Massimo Scaglia, Luciano Sacchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study of the spore wall of Encephalitozoon hellem was performed on thin sections, freeze-fracture, and deep-etched samples to obtain information on spore wall organization and composition. Our observations demonstrate that the spore wall is formed by an inner 30-35 nm electron-lucent endospore and an outer 25-30 nm electron-dense exospore. The exospore is a complex of three layers: an outer spiny layer, an electron-lucent intermediate lamina and an inner fibrous layer. Freeze-fracture and deep-etching techniques reveal that the intermediate lamina and the inner fibrous layer result from the different spatial disposition of the same 4-nm thick fibrils. In thin sections the endospore reveals a scattered electron-dense material that appears in the form of trabecular structures when analyzed in deep-etched samples. The presence of chitin in the exospore is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-186
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1996


  • Chitin
  • Deep-etching
  • Endospore
  • Fibrils
  • Freeze-fracture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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