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J Cell Biol. 1972 September 1; 54(3): 507–539.
PMCID: PMC2200286

CHLAMYDOMONAS FLAGELLA

I. Isolation and Electrophoretic Analysis of Microtubules, Matrix, Membranes, and Mastigonemes

Abstract

Methods were developed for the isolation of Chlamydomonas flagella and for their fractionation into membrane, mastigoneme, "matrix," and axoneme components. Each component was studied by electron microscopy and acrylamide gel electrophoresis. Purified membranes retained their tripartite ultrastructure and were shown to contain one high molecular weight protein band on electrophoresis in sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-urea gels. Isolated mastigonemes (hairlike structures which extend laterally from the flagellar membrane in situ) were of uniform size and were constructed of ellipsoidal subunits joined end to end. Electrophoretic analysis of mastigonemes indicated that they contained a single glycoprotein of ~ 170,000 daltons The matrix fraction contained a number of proteins (particularly those of the amorphous material surrounding the microtubules), which became solubilized during membrane removal. Isolated axonemes retained the intact "9 + 2" microtubular structure and could be subfractionated by treatment with heat or detergent. Increasing concentrations of detergent solubilized axonemal microtubules in the following order: one of the two central tubules; the remaining central tubule and the outer wall of the B tubule; the remaining portions of the B tubule; the outer wall of the A tubule; the remainder of the A tubule with the exception of a ribbon of three protofilaments. These three protofilaments appeared to be the "partition" between the lumen of the A and B tubule. Electrophoretic analysis of isolated outer doublets of 9 + 2 flagella of wild-type cells and of "9 + 0" flagella of paralyzed mutants indicated that the outer doublets and central tubules were composed of two microtubule proteins (tubulins 1 and 2) Tubulins 1 and 2 were shown to have apparent molecular weights of 56,000 and 53,000 respectively

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