Sexual adhesion between Chlamydomonas reinhardtii gametes elicits a rise in intracellular cAMP levels, and exogenous elevation of intracellular cAMP levels in gametes of a single mating type induces such mating responses as cell wall loss, flagellar tip activation, and mating structure activation (Pasquale, S. M., and U. W. Goodenough. 1987. J. Cell Biol. 105:2279-2292). Here evidence is presented that sexual adhesion mobilizes agglutinin to the flagellar surface, and that this mobilization can be induced by exogenous presentation of cAMP to gametes of a single mating type. It is proposed that Chlamydomonas adhesion entails a positive feedback system--initial contacts stimulate the presentation of additional agglutinin--and that this feedback is mediated by adhesion-induced cAMP generation.

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