Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jcellbiolHomeThe Rockefeller University PressEditorsContactInstructions for AuthorsThis issue
J Cell Biol. 1985 January 1; 100(1): 297–309.
PMCID: PMC2113479

Basal bodies and associated structures are not required for normal flagellar motion or phototaxis in the green alga Chlorogonium elongatum


The interphase flagellar apparatus of the green alga Chlorogonium elongatum resembles that of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in the possession of microtubular rootlets and striated fibers. However, Chlorogonium, unlike Chlamydomonas, retains functional flagella during cell division. In dividing cells, the basal bodies and associated structures are no longer present at the flagellar bases, but have apparently detached and migrated towards the cell equator before the first mitosis. The transition regions remain with the flagella, which are now attached to a large apical mitochondrion by cross-striated filamentous components. Both dividing and nondividing cells of Chlorogonium propagate asymmetrical ciliary-type waveforms during forward swimming and symmetrical flagellar-type waveforms during reverse swimming. High- speed cinephotomicrographic analysis indicates that waveforms, beat frequency, and flagellar coordination are similar in both cell types. This indicates that basal bodies, striated fibers, and microtubular rootlets are not required for the initiation of flagellar beat, coordination of the two flagella, or determination of flagellar waveform. Dividing cells display a strong net negative phototaxis comparable to that of nondividing cells; hence, none of these structures are required for the transmission or processing of the signals involved in phototaxis, or for the changes in flagellar beat that lead to phototactic turning. Therefore, all of the machinery directly involved in the control of flagellar motion is contained within the axoneme and/or transition region. The timing of formation and the positioning of the newly formed basal structures in each of the daughter cells suggests that they play a significant role in cellular morphogenesis.

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (6.6M).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Allen C, Borisy GG. Structural polarity and directional growth of microtubules of Chlamydomonas flagella. J Mol Biol. 1974 Dec 5;90(2):381–402. [PubMed]
  • Allen RD. Fine structure, reconstruction and possible functions of components of the cortex of Tetrahymena pyriformis. J Protozool. 1967 Nov;14(4):553–565. [PubMed]
  • Atema J. Microtube theory of sensory transduction. J Theor Biol. 1973 Jan;38(1):181–190. [PubMed]
  • Bessen M, Fay RB, Witman GB. Calcium control of waveform in isolated flagellar axonemes of Chlamydomonas. J Cell Biol. 1980 Aug;86(2):446–455. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brokaw CJ, Luck DJ. Bending patterns of chlamydomonas flagella I. Wild-type bending patterns. Cell Motil. 1983;3(2):131–150. [PubMed]
  • Brokaw CJ, Luck DJ, Huang B. Analysis of the movement of Chlamydomonas flagella:" the function of the radial-spoke system is revealed by comparison of wild-type and mutant flagella. J Cell Biol. 1982 Mar;92(3):722–732. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brown DL, Massalski A, Patenaude R. Organization of the flagellar apparatus and associate cytoplasmic microtubules in the quadriflagellate alga Polytomella agilis. J Cell Biol. 1976 Apr;69(1):106–125. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Cavalier-Smith T. Basal body and flagellar development during the vegetative cell cycle and the sexual cycle of Chlamydomonas reinhardii. J Cell Sci. 1974 Dec;16(3):529–556. [PubMed]
  • Coyne B, Rosenbaum JL. Flagellar elongation and shortening in chlamydomonas. II. Re-utilization of flagellar proteins. J Cell Biol. 1970 Dec;47(3):777–781. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Dentler WL. Microtubule-membrane interactions in cilia and flagella. Int Rev Cytol. 1981;72:1–47. [PubMed]
  • Eckert R, Brehm P. Ionic mechanisms of excitation in Paramecium. Annu Rev Biophys Bioeng. 1979;8:353–383. [PubMed]
  • Fawcett DW. A comparative view of sperm ultrastructure. Biol Reprod Suppl. 1970;2:90–127. [PubMed]
  • Fawcett DW, Phillips DM. The fine structure and development of the neck region of the mammalian spermatozoon. Anat Rec. 1969 Oct;165(2):153–164. [PubMed]
  • Foster KW, Smyth RD. Light Antennas in phototactic algae. Microbiol Rev. 1980 Dec;44(4):572–630. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Friedmann I, Colwin AL, Colwin LH. Fine-structural aspects of fertilization in Chlamydomonas reinhardi. J Cell Sci. 1968 Mar;3(1):115–128. [PubMed]
  • Fulton C, Dingle AD. Basal bodies, but not centrioles, in Naegleria. J Cell Biol. 1971 Dec;51(3):826–836. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gaffal KP, Schneider GJ. Morphogenesis of the plastidome and the flagellar apparatus during the vegetative life cycle of the colourless phytoflagellate Polytoma papillatum. Cytobios. 1980;27(105):43–61. [PubMed]
  • Goodenough UW, Weiss RL. Interrelationships between microtubules, a striated fiber, and the gametic mating structure of Chlamydomonas reinhardi. J Cell Biol. 1978 Feb;76(2):430–438. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Gordon M. The distal centriole in guinea pig spermiogenesis. J Ultrastruct Res. 1972 May;39(3):364–388. [PubMed]
  • Gould RR. The basal bodies of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Formation from probasal bodies, isolation, and partial characterization. J Cell Biol. 1975 Apr;65(1):65–74. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hepler PK. The blepharoplast of Marsilea: its de novo formation and spindle association. J Cell Sci. 1976 Jul;21(2):361–390. [PubMed]
  • Hoops HJ, Witman GB. Outer doublet heterogeneity reveals structural polarity related to beat direction in Chlamydomonas flagella. J Cell Biol. 1983 Sep;97(3):902–908. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hoops HJ, Wright RL, Jarvik JW, Witman GB. Flagellar waveform and rotational orientation in a Chlamydomonas mutant lacking normal striated fibers. J Cell Biol. 1984 Mar;98(3):818–824. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hyams JS, Borisy GG. Flagellar coordination in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: isolation and reactivation of the flagellar apparatus. Science. 1975 Sep 12;189(4206):891–893. [PubMed]
  • Hyams JS, Borisy GG. Isolated flagellar apparatus of Chlamydomonas: characterization of forward swimming and alteration of waveform and reversal of motion by calcium ions in vitro. J Cell Sci. 1978 Oct;33:235–253. [PubMed]
  • Johnson UG, Porter KR. Fine structure of cell division in Chlamydomonas reinhardi. Basal bodies and microtubules. J Cell Biol. 1968 Aug;38(2):403–425. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kamiya R, Witman GB. Submicromolar levels of calcium control the balance of beating between the two flagella in demembranated models of Chlamydomonas. J Cell Biol. 1984 Jan;98(1):97–107. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kung C, Saimi Y. The physiological basis of taxes in Paramecium. Annu Rev Physiol. 1982;44:519–534. [PubMed]
  • Melkonian M. The functional analysis of the flagellar apparatus in green algae. Symp Soc Exp Biol. 1982;35:589–606. [PubMed]
  • Melkonian M, Robenek H. Eyespot membranes of Chlamydomonas reinhardii: a freeze-fracture study. J Ultrastruct Res. 1980 Jul;72(1):90–102. [PubMed]
  • Moestrup O. On the phylogenetic validity of the flagellar apparatus in green algae and other chlorophyll A and B containing plants. Biosystems. 1978 Apr;10(1-2):117–144. [PubMed]
  • Phillips DM. Insect sperm: their structure and morphogenesis. J Cell Biol. 1970 Feb;44(2):243–277. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Ringo DL. Flagellar motion and fine structure of the flagellar apparatus in Chlamydomonas. J Cell Biol. 1967 Jun;33(3):543–571. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • SAGER R, GRANICK S. Nutritional studies with Chlamydomonas reinhardi. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1953 Oct 14;56(5):831–838. [PubMed]
  • SAGER R, PALADE GE. Structure and development of the chloroplast in Chlamydomonas. I. The normal green cell. J Biophys Biochem Cytol. 1957 May 25;3(3):463–488. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Salisbury JL, Floyd GL. Calcium-induced contraction of the rhizoplast of a quadriflagellate green alga. Science. 1978 Dec 1;202(4371):975–977. [PubMed]
  • Schmidt JA, Eckert R. Calcium couples flagellar reversal to photostimulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Nature. 1976 Aug 19;262(5570):713–715. [PubMed]
  • Stearns ME, Brown DL. Microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs) of the alga Polytomella exert spatial control over microtubule initiation in vivo and in vitro. J Ultrastruct Res. 1981 Dec;77(3):366–378. [PubMed]
  • Stearns ME, Connolly JA, Brown DL. Cytoplasmic microtubule organizing centers isolated from Polytomella agilis. Science. 1976 Jan 16;191(4223):188–191. [PubMed]
  • Stephens RE. The basal apparatus. Mass isolation from the molluscan ciliated gill epithelium and a preliminary characterization of striated rootlets. J Cell Biol. 1975 Feb;64(2):408–420. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • White RB, Brown DL. ATPase activities associated with the flagellar basal apparatus of Polytomella. J Ultrastruct Res. 1981 May;75(2):151–161. [PubMed]
  • Woolley DM, Fawcett DW. The degeneration and disappearance of the centrioles during the development of the rat spermatozoon. Anat Rec. 1973 Oct;177(2):289–301. [PubMed]
  • Wright RL, Chojnacki B, Jarvik JW. Abnormal basal-body number, location, and orientation in a striated fiber-defective mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. J Cell Biol. 1983 Jun;96(6):1697–1707. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The Journal of Cell Biology are provided here courtesy of The Rockefeller University Press