1. Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics
  2. Cell Biology
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Flagellar Beating: Row with the flow

  1. Benjamin M Friedrich  Is a corresponding author
  2. Ingmar H Riedel-Kruse  Is a corresponding author
  1. Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Germany
  2. Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University, United States
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Cite this article as: eLife 2014;3:e03804 doi: 10.7554/eLife.03804
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The beating of cilia and flagella can be considered at several different scales.

Left: the green alga Volvox forms colonies that can contain thousands of cells. Each cell effectively has a single flagellum on its surface, and the flagella on different cells are able to beat in synchrony. Middle: pairs of cilia or flagella exert hydrodynamic forces on each other as they beat. Brumley et al. isolated two such flagella and varied the distance between them, L, to study the role of hydrodynamics in synchronisation. This revealed that the strength of the flow field, and hence the strength of synchronisation, is inversely proportional to L. Right: inside each flagellum, motor proteins called dyneins (dark blue) slide adjacent microtubules to drive the regular beat of the flagellum. The sensitivity of these motors to external forces may help cilia and flagella to synchronise.

FIGURE CREDIT: Frank Fox

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