DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200905083 ISSN: 1540-8140

An outer arm dynein light chain acts in a conformational switch for flagellar motility

Ramila S. Patel-King, Stephen M. King
  • Cell Biology

A system distinct from the central pair–radial spoke complex was proposed to control outer arm dynein function in response to alterations in the mechanical state of the flagellum. In this study, we examine the role of a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii outer arm dynein light chain that associates with the motor domain of the γ heavy chain (HC). We demonstrate that expression of mutant forms of LC1 yield dominant-negative effects on swimming velocity, as the flagella continually beat out of phase and stall near or at the power/recovery stroke switchpoint. Furthermore, we observed that LC1 interacts directly with tubulin in a nucleotide-independent manner and tethers this motor unit to the A-tubule of the outer doublet microtubules within the axoneme. Therefore, this dynein HC is attached to the same microtubule by two sites: via both the N-terminal region and the motor domain. We propose that this γ HC–LC1–microtubule ternary complex functions as a conformational switch to control outer arm activity.

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