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Exp Cell Res. 1987 Nov;173(1):299-304.

Intrinsic difference in beat frequency between the two flagella of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Nagoya University, Japan.


The flagellar beat frequency of the biflagellated green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was measured by fast Fourier transform analysis of the light intensity fluctuation in microscope images of swimming cells. Live cells had a mean beat frequency of 48-53 Hz at 20 degrees C. However, detergent-extracted "cell models," when reactivated in the presence of 1 mM ATP, appeared to have two different beat frequencies of about 30 and 45 Hz. Measurements in cell models in which only one of the two flagella was beating indicated that the lower and higher frequencies most likely represented the beat frequency of the flagellum nearer to the eyespot (the cis-flagellum) and that of the flagellum farther from it (the trans-flagellum), respectively. In live cells also, the trans-flagellum beat at a frequency about 30% higher than that of the cis-flagellum when the cells were rendered uniflagellated by mechanical treatment, whereas both flagella beat at the frequency of the cis-flagellum under normal conditions. These observations suggest that the two flagella of Chlamydomonas have different intrinsic beat frequencies but that they are somehow synchronized when beating together on a live swimming cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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