1. Physics of Living Systems
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Length regulation of multiple flagella that self-assemble from a shared pool of components

  1. Thomas G Fai
  2. Lishibanya Mohapatra
  3. Prathitha Kar
  4. Jane Kondev
  5. Ariel Amir  Is a corresponding author
  1. Brandeis University, United States
  2. Harvard University, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2019;8:e42599 doi: 10.7554/eLife.42599

Abstract

The single-celled green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with its two flagella - microtubule-based structures of equal and constant lengths - is the canonical model organism for studying size control of organelles. Experiments have identified motor-driven transport of tubulin to the flagella tips as a key component of their length control. Here we consider a class of models whose key assumption is that proteins responsible for the intraflagellar transport (IFT) of tubulin are present in limiting amounts. We show that the limiting-pool assumption is insufficient to describe the results of severing experiments, in which a flagellum is regenerated after it has been severed. Next, we consider an extension of the limiting-pool model that incorporates proteins that depolymerize microtubules. We show that this 'active disassembly' model of flagellar length control explains in quantitative detail the results of severing experiments and use it to make predictions that can be tested in experiments.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Thomas G Fai

    Department of Mathematics, Brandeis University, Waltham, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-0383-5217
  2. Lishibanya Mohapatra

    Department of Physics, Brandeis University, Waltham, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Prathitha Kar

    Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Jane Kondev

    Department of Physics, Brandeis University, Waltham, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Ariel Amir

    Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, United States
    For correspondence
    arielamir@seas.harvard.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-2611-0139

Funding

National Science Foundation (CAREER 1752024)

  • Ariel Amir

National Science Foundation (DMS-1502851)

  • Thomas G Fai

National Science Foundation (DMR-1610737)

  • Jane Kondev

National Science Foundation (MRSEC-1420382)

  • Jane Kondev

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

  • Ariel Amir

Kavli Foundation

  • Ariel Amir

Simons Foundation

  • Jane Kondev

Simons Foundation

  • Lishibanya Mohapatra

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Frank Jülicher, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Germany

Publication history

  1. Received: October 5, 2018
  2. Accepted: October 8, 2019
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: October 9, 2019 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2019, Fai et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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