A novel Chlamydomonas flagellar mutant (oda-11) missing the alpha heavy chain of outer arm dynein but retaining the beta and gamma heavy chains was isolated. Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis with an alpha heavy chain locus genomic probe indicated that the oda-11 mutation was genetically linked with the structural gene of the alpha heavy chain. In cross-section electron micrographs, the oda-11 axoneme lacked the outermost appendage of the outer arm, indicating that the alpha heavy chain should be located in this region in the wild-type outer arm. This mutant swam at 119 microns/s at 25 degrees C, i.e., at an intermediate speed between those of wild type (194 microns/s) and of oda-1 (62 microns/s), a mutant missing the entire outer dynein arm. The flagellar beat frequency (approximately 50 Hz) was also between those of wild type (approximately 60 Hz) and oda-1 (approximately 26 Hz). These results indicate that the outer dynein arm of Chlamydomonas can be assembled without the alpha heavy chain, and that the outer arm missing the alpha heavy chain retains partial function.

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