Chlamydomonas shows both positive and negative phototaxis. It has a single eyespot near its equator, and as the cell rotates during the forward motion, the light signal received by the eyespot varies. We use a simple mechanical model of Chlamydomonas that couples the flagellar beat pattern to the light intensity at the eyespot to demonstrate a mechanism for phototactic steering that is consistent with observations. The direction of phototaxis is controlled by a parameter in our model, and the steering mechanism is robust to noise. Our model shows switching between directed phototaxis when the light is on and run-and-tumble behaviour in the dark.
Keywords: cell locomotion; flagella; phototaxis.
© 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.