Localization of the Blue-Light Receptor Phototropin to the Flagella of the Green Alga Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii

Mol Biol Cell. 2004 Aug;15(8):3605-14. doi: 10.1091/mbc.e04-01-0010. Epub 2004 May 21.


Blue light controls the sexual life cycle of Chlamydomonas, mediated by phototropin, a UV-A/blue-light receptor that plays a prominent role in multiple photoresponses. By using fractionation experiments and immunolocalization studies, this blue-light receptor, in addition to its known localization to the cell bodies, also was detected in flagella. Within the flagella, it was completely associated with the axonemes, in striking contrast to the situation in higher plants and the Chlamydomonas cell body where phototropin was observed in the plasma membrane. Its localization was not perturbed in mutants lacking several prominent structural components of the axoneme. This led to the conclusion that phototropin may be associated with the outer doublet microtubules. Analysis of a mutant (fla10) in which intraflagellar transport is compromised suggested that phototropin is a cargo for intraflagellar transport. The blue-light receptor thus seems to be an integral constituent of the flagella of this green alga, extending the list of organisms that harbor sensory molecules within this organelle to unicellular algae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / chemistry*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism
  • Cryptochromes
  • Dibucaine / pharmacology
  • Flagella / chemistry*
  • Flagella / drug effects
  • Flagella / metabolism
  • Flavoproteins / analysis*
  • Flavoproteins / genetics
  • Flavoproteins / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein Transport / physiology


  • Cryptochromes
  • Flavoproteins
  • Dibucaine