Because our previous studies (Snell, W.J., and W.S. Moore, 1980, J. Cell Biol. 84:203- 210) on the mating reaction of chlamydomonas reinhardtii showed that there was an adhesion-induced turnover of proteins whose synthesis is induced during aggregation. Analysis by SDS PAGE and autoradiography showed that proteins of 220,000 M(r) and 165, 000 M(r) (designated A(1) and A(2) respectively) consistently showed a high rate of synthesis only in flagella or flagellar membrane-enriched fractions prepared from aggregating gametes. Since the two proteins were soluble in the non-ionic detergent NP-40 and were removed from intact cells by a brief pronase treatment, it is likely that A(1) and A(2) are membrane proteins expose on the cell surface.
A(1) and A(2) were each synthesized by gametes of both mating types (mt(-) and mt(+)) and synthesis of these two proteins could be detected in the normal mating reaction (wild type mt(-) and mt(+)), in mixtures of mt(-) and impotent mt(+) gametes (which could aggregate but not fuse), and in mixtures of gametes of a single mating type with isolated flagella of the opposite mating type. Cells aggregating in tunicamycin, an inhibitor of protein glycosylation, lost their adhesiveness during aggregation and did not synthesize the 220,000 M(r) protein but instead produced a protein (possibly an underglycosylated form of A(1)) of slightly lower mol wt.
The 220,000 and 165,000 M(R) proteins appeared to be flagellar proteins and not cell wall proteins because A(1) and A(2) did not co-migrate with previously identified cell wall proteins, and synthesis of the two proteins could not be detected in flagella-less (bald-2) mutant cells. Analysis of the adhesive activity of sucrose gradient fraction of detergent (octyl glucoside)-solubilized flagellar membranes revealed that fractions containing A(1) and A(2) did not have detectable adhesive activity. The possibility remains that A(1) and A(2) are adhesion molecules whose activity could not be measured in the assay we used. Alternatively, the 220,000 and 165,000 M(r) proteins may be inactivated adhesion molecules or else they may be flagellar surface proteins involved only indirectly in the adhesion process.