Hydrodynamics Versus Intracellular Coupling in the Synchronization of Eukaryotic Flagella

Phys Rev Lett. 2015 Dec 4;115(23):238101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.238101. Epub 2015 Nov 30.


The influence of hydrodynamic forces on eukaryotic flagella synchronization is investigated by triggering phase locking between a controlled external flow and the flagella of C. reinhardtii. Hydrodynamic forces required for synchronization are over an order of magnitude larger than hydrodynamic forces experienced in physiological conditions. Our results suggest that synchronization is due instead to coupling through cell internal fibers connecting the flagella. This conclusion is confirmed by observations of the vfl3 mutant, with impaired mechanical connection between the flagella.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / chemistry*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / physiology*
  • Flagella / chemistry*
  • Flagella / physiology*
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Models, Biological*