This study was undertaken to prove that voltage-sensitive calcium channels controlling the photophobic stop response of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are exclusively found in the flagellar region of the cell and to answer the question as to their exact localization within the flagellar membrane. The strategy used was to amputate flagella to a variable degree without perturbing the electrical properties of the cell and measure flagellar currents shortly after amputation and during the subsequent regeneration process. Under all conditions, a close correlation was found between current size and flagellar length, strongly suggesting that the channels that mediate increases in intraflagellar calcium concentration are confined to and distributed over the total flagellar length. Bald mutants yielded tiny flagellar currents, in agreement with the existence of residual flagellar stubs. In the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide, flagellar length and flagellar currents also recovered in parallel. Recovery came to an earlier end, however, leveling off at a time when in the absence of cycloheximide only half maximal values were achieved. This suggests the existence of a pool of precursors, which permits the maintenance of a constant ratio between voltage-sensitive calcium channels and other intraflagellar proteins.

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