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Testing the time-of-flight model for flagellar length sensing.

  • Author(s): Ishikawa, Hiroaki
  • Marshall, Wallace F
  • et al.

Cilia and flagella are microtubule-based organelles that protrude from the surface of most cells, are important to the sensing of extracellular signals, and make a driving force for fluid flow. Maintenance of flagellar length requires an active transport process known as intraflagellar transport (IFT). Recent studies reveal that the amount of IFT injection negatively correlates with the length of flagella. These observations suggest that a length-dependent feedback regulates IFT. However, it is unknown how cells recognize the length of flagella and control IFT. Several theoretical models try to explain this feedback system. We focused on one of the models, the "time-of-flight" model, which measures the length of flagella on the basis of the travel time of IFT protein in the flagellar compartment. We tested the time-of-flight model using Chlamydomonas dynein mutant cells, which show slower retrograde transport speed. The amount of IFT injection in dynein mutant cells was higher than that in control cells. This observation does not support the prediction of the time-of-flight model and suggests that Chlamydomonas uses another length-control feedback system rather than that described by the time-of-flight model.

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