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Beating patterns of flagella

Research Achievements

Beating patterns of flagella

Despite extensive efforts, the mechanism that governs periodic beating patterns of eukaryotic cilia and flagella, complex organelles containing >650 proteins, is not well understood. Previous efforts focused on deconstructing fully functioning flagella to identify essential structural components. IGERT trainee Timothy Sanchez, working with the Gelles (Biochem), Dogic (Physics) and Nicastro (Biology) labs, took a different approach and demonstrated that a minimal model system consisting of only four proteins exhibits periodic beating patterns reminiscent of those found in the full system. This novel in vitro system provides insight into mechanisms that drive the oscillation, and in addition, it has led to methods for assembling novel active materials capable of fluid transport and swimming motion. These results will appear in Science in the Jul 22 issue (T. Sanchez, D. Welch, D. Nicastro and Z. Dogic, , "Cilia like beating of active microtubule bundles")