Chlamydomonas flagella exhibit force transduction in association with their surface. This flagellar surface motility is probably used both for whole cell gliding movements (flagella-substrate interaction) and for reorientation of flagella during mating (flagella-flagella interaction). The present study seeks to identify flagellar proteins that may function as exposed adhesive sites coupled to a motor responsible for their translocation in the plane of the plasma membrane. The principal components of the flagellar membrane are a pair of glycoproteins (approximately 350,000 mol wt), with similar mobility on SDS polyacrylamide gels. A rabbit IgG preparation has been obtained which is specific for these two glycoproteins; this antibody preparation binds to and agglutinates cells by their flagellar surfaces only. Treatment of cells with 0.1 mg/ml pronase results in a loss of motility-coupled flagellar membrane adhesiveness. This effect is totally reversible, but only in the presence of new protein synthesis. The major flagellar protein modified by this pronase treatment is the faster migrating of the two high molecular weight glycoproteins; the other glycoprotein does not appear to be accessible to external proteolytic digestion. Loss and recovery of flagella surface binding sites for the specific antibody parallels the loss and recovery of the motility-coupled flagellar surface adhesiveness, as measured by the binding and translocation of polystyrene microspheres. These observations suggest, but do not prove, that the faster migrating of the major high molecular weight flagellar membrane glycoproteins may be the component which provides sites for substrate interaction and couples these sites to the cytoskeletal components responsible for force transduction.

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