Novel mode of hyper-oscillation in the paralyzed axoneme of a Chlamydomonas mutant lacking the central-pair microtubules

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1995;31(3):207-14. doi: 10.1002/cm.970310304.


The flagellar axoneme of the mutant pf18 lacking the central pair does not beat, but undergoes a nanometer-scale, high-frequency oscillation (hyper-oscillation) in the presence of ATP [Yagi et al., 1994: Cell Motil. Cytoskeleton 29:177-185]. The present study demonstrates that the amplitude of the hyper-oscillation increases significantly in the simultaneous presence of ATP and ADP. In addition, the hyper-oscillation under these conditions sometimes takes on an exceptionally simple asymmetric pattern, in which the maximal shearing velocity exceeds 50 microns/sec, much higher than the maximal velocity of ordinary dynein-microtubule sliding. The asymmetric oscillation thus appears to be at least partly driven by an internal elastic force. Its amplitude suggests that the axoneme has an elastic component that can be stretched by as long as 0.1 micron. Analyses of the asymmetric pattern further suggests that the axonemal dyneins have a tendency to attach to and detach from the doublets cooperatively and that the mechanochemical cycle of dynein has an inherent refractory period of about 2 msec, during which dynein cannot interact with microtubules.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Diphosphate / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / physiology*
  • Flagella / physiology*
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Mutation


  • Adenosine Diphosphate
  • Adenosine Triphosphate