The generation of ciliary waveforms requires the spatial and temporal regulation of dyneins. This review catalogues many of the asymmetric structures and proteins in the cilia of Chlamydomonas, a unicellular alga with two cilia that are used for motility in liquid medium. These asymmetries, which have been identified through mutant analysis, cryo-EM tomography and proteomics, provide a wealth of information to use for modelling how waveforms are generated and propagated. This article is part of the Theo Murphy meeting issue 'Unity and diversity of cilia in locomotion and transport'.
Keywords: Chlamydomonas; cryo-EM tomography; dynein arms; mutational analysis.