A Caltech Library Service

Analysis of the Movement of Chlamydomonas Flagella: The Function of the Radial-spoke System Is Revealed by Comparison of Wild-type and Mutant Flagella

Brokaw, C. J. and Luck, D. J. L and Huang, B. (1982) Analysis of the Movement of Chlamydomonas Flagella: The Function of the Radial-spoke System Is Revealed by Comparison of Wild-type and Mutant Flagella. Journal of Cell Biology, 92 (3). pp. 722-732. ISSN 0021-9525. PMCID PMC2112047. doi:10.1083/jcb.92.3.722.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The mutation uni-1 gives rise to uniflagellate Chlamydomonas cells which rotate around a fixed point in the microscope field, so that the flagellar bending pattern can be photographed easily . This has allowed us to make a detailed analysis of the wild-type flagellar bending pattern and the bending patterns of flagella on several mutant strains. Cells containing uni-1, and recombinants of uni-1 with the suppressor mutations, sup(_pf)-1 and sup(_pf)-3, show the typical asymmetric bending pattern associated with forward swimming in Chlamydomonas, although sup(_pf)-1 flagella have about one-half the normal beat frequency, apparently as the result of defective function of the outer dynein arms. The pf-17 mutation has been shown to produce nonmotile flagella in which radial spoke heads and five characteristic axonemal polypeptides are missing. Recombinants containing pf-17 and either sup(_pf)-1 or sup(_pf)-3 have motile flagella, but still lack radial-spoke heads and the associated polypeptides . The flagellar bending pattern of these recombinants lacking radial-spoke heads is a nearly symmetric, large amplitude pattern which is quite unlike the wild-type pattern . However, the presence of an intact radial-spoke system is not required to convert active sliding into bending and is not required for bend initiation and bend propagation, since all of these processes are active in the sup(_pf) pf-17 recombinants. The function of the radial-spoke system appears to be to convert the symmetric bending pattern displayed by these recombinants into the asymmetric bending pattern required for efficient swimming, by inhibiting the development of reverse bends during the recovery phase of the bending cycle.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Additional Information:© 1982 Rockefeller University Press. Received 31 August 1981, in revised form 9 November 1981. We thank Zenta Remanis for making the recombinant strains and for characterizing them genetically, Sandy Nakada for assistance with photographic processing and data analysis, and Drs. I. R. Gibbons and C. Omoto for comments on an early version of this manuscript. This work has been supported by National Institutes of Health research grants GM-17132, GM-18711 and GM-25965.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Issue or Number:3
PubMed Central ID:PMC2112047
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120717-095638888
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Analysis of the movement of Chlamydomonas flagella:" the function of the radial-spoke system is revealed by comparison of wild-type and mutant flagella. C J Brokaw, D J Luck, and B Huang J Cell Biol 1982 92:722-732. Published March 1, 1982, doi:10.1083/jcb.92.3.722
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32511
Deposited On:17 Jul 2012 17:59
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 21:27

Repository Staff Only: item control page