The intraflagellar transport machinery of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Traffic. 2003 Jul;4(7):435-42. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0854.2003.t01-1-00103.x.


First discovered in the green alga, Chlamydomonas, intraflagellar transport (IFT) is the bidirectional movement of protein particles along the length of eukaryotic cilia and flagella. Composed of approximately 16 different proteins, IFT particles are moved out to the distal tip of the organelle by kinesin-II and are brought back to the cell body by cytoplasmic dynein 1b. Mutant analysis of the IFT motor and particle proteins using diverse organisms has revealed a conserved and essential role for IFT in the assembly and maintenance of cilia and flagella. IFT is thought to mediate this assembly through the delivery of axonemal precursors out to the distal tip of the growing organelle. Consistent with this model, the IFT particle proteins are rich in protein-protein binding motifs, suggesting that the particles may act as scaffolds for the binding of multiple cargoes. With most of the IFT proteins now identified at the level of the gene, this review will briefly examine both the structure and function of the IFT machinery of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algal Proteins / genetics
  • Algal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / cytology*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism*
  • Flagella / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Motor Proteins / metabolism


  • Algal Proteins
  • Molecular Motor Proteins