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Planta. 1986 Apr;167(4):544-53. doi: 10.1007/BF00391231.

Evidence for a functional membrane barrier in the transition zone between the flagellum and cell body of Chlamydomonas eugametos gametes.

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Department of Plant Physiology, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 318, SM 1098, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Evidence is presented which supports the concept of a functional membrane barrier in the transition zone at the base of each flagellum of Chlamydomonas eugametos gametes. This makes it unlikely that agglutination factors present on the surface of the cell body can diffuse or be transported to the flagellar membrane. The evidence is as follows: 1) The glycoprotein composition of the flagellar membrane is very different to that of the cell-body plasma membrane. 2) The flagella of gametes treated with cycloheximide, tunicamycin or α, α'-dipyridyl become non-agglutinable but the source of agglutination factors on the cell body is not affected. 3) Even under natural conditions when the flagella are non-agglutinable, for example in vis-à-vis pairs or in appropriate cell strains that are non-agglutinable in the dark, the cell bodies maintain the normal complement of active agglutinins. 4) When flagella of living cells are labeled with antibodies bound to fluorescein, the label does not diffuse onto the cell-body surface. 5) When gametes fuse to form vis-à-vis pairs, the original mating-type-specific antigenicity of each cell body is slowly lost (probably due to the antigens diffusing over both cell bodies), while the specific antigenicity of the flagellar surface is maintained. Even when the flagella of vis-à-vis pairs are regenerated from cell bodies with mixed antigenicity, the antigenicity of the flagella remains matingtype-specific. 6) Evidence is presented for the existence of a pool of agglutination factors within the cell bodies but not on the outer surface of the cells.


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