Mutant strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that move backwards only

J Cell Biol. 1984 Jun;98(6):2026-34. doi: 10.1083/jcb.98.6.2026.


Mutations at three independent loci in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii result in a striking alteration of cell motility. Mutant cells representing the three mbo loci move backwards only, propelled by a symmetrical "flagellar" type of bending pattern. The characteristic asymmetric "ciliary" type of flagellar bend pattern responsible for forward movement that predominates in wild-type cells is seldom seen in the mutants. This defect in motility was found to be a property of the mutant axonemes themselves: the isolated axonemes, reactivated by addition of ATP, showed exclusively the symmetrical wave form, and the protein composition of these axonemes differed from the wild-type composition. Axonemes obtained from mbo1 , mbo2 , and mbo3 cells were found to be deficient in six polypeptides regularly present in wild type. The mbo2 axonemes were deficient in two additional polypeptides. The polypeptides were identified in autoradiograms of two-dimensional SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoretograms of 35S- or 32P-labeled axonemes. One of the six polypeptides has previously been identified; it is a component missing in a mutant deficient for inner dynein arms. Of the five axonemal polypeptides newly identified by the mbo mutants, four were shown to be present as phosphoproteins in wild-type axonemes. One of the additional polypeptides deficient in mbo2 axonemes was also shown to be phosphorylated in wild-type axonemes. Detailed ultrastructural analysis of the mbo1 flagella and the mbo1 , mbo2A , and mbo3 axonemes revealed that the mutants specifically lack the beak-like projections found within the B-tubules of outer doublets 5 and 6.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • Chlamydomonas / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas / physiology*
  • Chlamydomonas / ultrastructure
  • Flagella / physiology*
  • Flagella / ultrastructure
  • Genes
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Weight
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • Proteins / isolation & purification


  • Proteins