Nematocysts containing coiled polar filaments are a distinguishing feature of members of the phylum Cnidaria. As a first step to characterizing the molecular structure of polar filaments, a polyclonal antiserum was raised in rabbits against a cyanogen bromide–resistant protein extract of mature cysts containing spores of Myxobolus pendula. The antiserum reacted only with proteins associated with extruded polar filaments. Western blot and whole-mount immunohistochemical analyses indicated a conservation of polar filament epitopes between M. pendula and 2 related cnidarians, i.e., the anthozoan, Nematostella vectensis, and the hydrozoan, Hydra vulgaris. This conservation of polar filament epitopes lends further support to a shared affinity between Myxozoa and cnidarians.

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