In the mechanism underlying the phototactic behavior of Chlamydomonas, Ca2+ has been thought to control the dominance between the two flagella so as to steer the cell to correct directions. A newly isolated mutant, lsp1, that displays weak phototaxis was found to be defective in this Ca2+-dependent shift in flagellar dominance; in demembranated and reactivated cell models, the trans flagellum (the flagellum farthest from the eyespot) beat more strongly than the other (the cis flagellum) in about half of the cells regardless of the Ca2+ concentration between <10-9 M and 10-6 M, a range over which wild-type cell models display switching of flagellar dominance. This is unexpected because ptx1, another mutant that is also deficient in flagellar dominance control, has been reported to lack phototactic ability. We therefore re-examined ptx1 and another reportedly non-phototactic mutant, ida1, which lacks inner arm dynein subspecies f (also called I1). Both were found to retain reduced phototactic abilities. These results indicate that both Ca2+-dependent flagellar dominance control and inner-arm dynein subspecies f are important for phototaxis, but are not absolutely necessary. Analysis of the flagellar beat frequency in lsp1 cell models showed that both of the flagella beat at the frequency of the cis flagellum in wild type. In addition, lsp1 and ptx1 were found to be deficient in determining the sign of phototactic migration. Hence, the Ca2+-dependent flagellar dominance control detected in demembranated cells might be involved in the determination of the sign of phototaxis. The gene responsible for the lsp1 mutation was identified by phenotype rescue experiments and found to have sequences for phosphorylation.
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