Regulation of dynein-driven motility in cilia and flagella

C. E. Walczak, D. L. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

39 Scopus citations


The evidence reviewed here suggests several conserved motifs underlying regulation of ciliary and flagellar motility. Results from many labs suggest that at least one mode of regulation involves the phosphorylation of outer arm dynein subunits, in particular the light chains or associated low molecular associated proteins, that causes a change in motility. Genetic evidence from Chlamydomonas suggests that the inner arm dyneins are also a target of regulation, probably through interaction with the radial spokes. Given the complexity of the three-dimensional strokes of cilia and flagella, it seems likely that the regulation of sliding motion brought about by dynein-microtubule interaction is very complex. The nine outer doublets in any small segment must not all slide simultaneously, and the activity of the nine in one segment of the cilium must differ from that of the same nine in another segment. There must be a mechanism to change the clock for regulatory events, so as to vary the beat frequency. Finally, ciliary arrest or reversal presumably requires another level of global regulation. A full understanding of the regulation of ciliary and flagellar motility will probably require not only the identification of regulatory events and components (phosphorylations, protein kinases, and substrates), but also determination of the spatial and temporal changes in the levels of second messengers (Ca2+, cAMP) - a challenging prospect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalCell motility and the cytoskeleton
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology

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