Mechanoreception in motile flagella of Chlamydomonas


Ciliates and flagellates temporarily swim backwards on collision by generating a mechanoreceptor potential. Although this potential has been shown to be associated with cilia in Paramecium, the molecular entity of the mechanoreceptor has remained unknown. Here we show that Chlamydomonas cells express TRP11, a member of the TRP (transient receptor potential) subfamily V, in the proximal region of the flagella, and that suppression of TRP11 expression results in loss of the avoiding reaction. The results indicate that Chlamydomonas flagella exhibit mechanosensitivity, despite constant motility, by localizing the mechanoreceptor in the proximal region, where active bending is restricted.

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Figure 1: Role of TRP channels in the avoiding reaction of Chlamydomonas.


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This work was supported by a grant from the Japan Science and Technology Agency and Grant-in-Aid from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan under grant numbers 10J02008 (to Y.N.), 21026009, 21370017 (to H.I.), 21247021, 16GS0308 (to M.S.) and 16370034 (to K.Y.).

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K.F., Y. N. and K.Y. carried out the experiments; K.F. and K.Y. designed the study; M.S. and H.I. gave conceptual advice; K.Y. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Kenjiro Yoshimura.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Fujiu, K., Nakayama, Y., Iida, H. et al. Mechanoreception in motile flagella of Chlamydomonas. Nat Cell Biol 13, 630–632 (2011).

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