Coordination of outer arm dynein activity along axonemal doublet microtubules

Raviraja N. Seetharam, Peter Satir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study considers the mechanism by which ODA based sliding is produced and the relationship of that mechanism to the determination of beat frequency. Two models of activity have been examined: a stochastic model, where ODA activity is random and a metachronal model, where activity is sequentially triggered along a doublet. Inactivation of a few ODAs would have virtually no effect on stochastic activity, but would completely block metachronal activity. We (Seetharam and Satir [2005]: Cell Motil Cytoskeleton 60:96-103) previously demonstrated that ODAs produce high speed sliding of about 200 μm/s, followed by a pause. IDAs produce slow, 5 μm/s, continuous sliding. We have examined the effects of nM concentrations of vanadate on sliding, measuring velocity and extent of high speed sliding and pause distribution or sliding cessation. In 5 nM vanadate, where photocleavage experiments show about 16/270 ODAs per doublet are affected, no differences from control are seen, but at 10 and 25 nM vanadate, high speed velocity is greatly reduced and pause distribution changes. The results support a model, in which high speed sliding is produced by metachronal activity. Blockage of two or more heavy chains of one ODA or a small group of adjacent ODAs produces cessation of sliding, but cessation is only temporary, probably because IDA activity continues, allowing ODA activity re-initiation beyond the block. These conclusions are consistent with Sugino and Naitoh's [1982; Nature 295:609-611] proposal, whereby during each beat, every ODA along a doublet becomes activated in succession, with repetitive activation determining beat frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-580
Number of pages9
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Axoneme
  • Beat frequency
  • Cilia
  • Dynein
  • Metachronal
  • Stochastic
  • Tetrahymena

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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