This study of the axoneme led to the identification of a previously unknown adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase), which is likely a major component of inner dynein arms. The ATPase was isolated from a soluble fraction of axonemes obtained from pf 28, a Chlamydomonas mutant lacking the outer dynein arms. The activity hydrolyzed up to 2.3 mumol of of protein (at pH 7.2, in the presence of both Ca++ and Mg++), had a sedimentation coefficient of 11S in sucrose gradient, and cosedimented with four polypeptides of apparent molecular weight 325,000, 315,000 140,000, and 42,000. Several arguments indicate that the new ATPase is a component of the inner dynein arms. Three or four polypeptides cosedimenting with the activity belong to a group of axonemal components that are deficient in the axonemes of pf 23 and pf 30, two mutants that display different levels of inner dynein arm deficiency. The 42,000 component is axonemal actin, a subunit of two other inner dynein ATPases. The two polypeptides of molecular weight greater than 300,000 have electrophoretic mobility similar to that of high molecular weight components of outer and inner dynein arms. In spite of some similarities each ATPase isolated from inner or outer arms is composed of a different set of polypeptides. Different ATPases may be required for the modulation of localized sliding of adjacent outer double microtubules in the axoneme.

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