The substructure of central pair microtubule-associated components has been analyzed by comparing thin section and freeze-etch images of Chlamydomonas flagellar axonemes. The longitudinal periodicity of central pair projections that were previously described from cross-sectional image averages was determined from thin sections of axonemes isolated from either wild type or central pair assembly-defective strains. All projections directed toward one quadrant of the central pair repeat at 32 nm, while those in the other three quadrants all show 16-nm spacing. The surface architecture of these projections as seen in rapid-freeze deep-etch images of central pair complexes includes elements that form circumferentially oriented fibers around most of the central pair. This appearance changes dramatically along the lateral edge of the C1 microtubule where material is arranged in rows of separate particles that may play a unique role in spoke-mediated regulation of flagellar dynein activity.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.