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Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1998;41(4):297-307.

Flagellar coordination in Chlamydomonas cells held on micropipettes.

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Fachbereich Biologie der Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.


The two flagella of Chlamydomonas are known to beat synchronously: During breaststroke beating they are generally coordinated in a bilateral way while in shock responses during undulatory beating coordination is mostly parallel [Rüffer and Nultsch, 1995: Botanica Acta 108:169-276]. Analysis of a great number of shock responses revealed that in undulatory beats also periods of bilateral coordination are found and that the coordination type may change several times during a shock response, without concomitant changes of the beat envelope and the beat period. In normal wt cells no coordination changes are found during breaststroke beating, but only short temporary asynchronies: During 2 or 3 normal beats of the cis flagellum, the trans flagellum performs 3 or 4 flat beats with a reduced beat envelope and a smaller beat period, resulting in one additional trans beat. Long periods with flat beats of the same shape and beat period are found in both flagella of the non-phototactic mutant ptx1 and in defective wt 622E cells. During these periods, the coordination is parallel, the two flagella beat alternately. A correlation between normal asynchronous trans beats and the parallel-coordinated beats in the presumably cis defective cells and also the undulatory beats is discussed. In the cis defective cells, a perpetual spontaneous change between parallel beats with small beat periods (higher beat frequency) and bilateral beats with greater beat periods (lower beat frequency) are observed and render questionable the existence of two different intrinsic beat frequencies of the two flagella cis and trans. Asynchronies occur spontaneously but may also be induced by light changes, either step-up or step-down, but not by both stimuli in turn as breaststroke flagellar photoresponses (BFPRs). Asynchronies are not involved in phototaxis. They are independent of the BFPRs, which are supposed to be the basis of phototaxis. Both types of coordination must be assumed to be regulated internally, involving calcium-sensitive basal-body associated fibrous structures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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