Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model for flagellar assembly
Lechtreck, Karl F.
Cilia and flagella are microtubule-based cell extensions which are widely distributed among eukaryotes. Ciliary motility functions in cell locomotion and the transport of extracellular fluids. Mammalian cells often possess a single non-motile cilium, the primary cilium, which has sensory and signaling functions. The assembly of most eukaryotic cilia and flagella requires intraflagellar transport (IFT), the bidirectional movement of protein particles along the microtubules of the axoneme. IFT was first described 20 years ago using the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model. Defects in IFT and ciliary protein transport have been linked to numerous human diseases including blindness and obesity. This review provides an introductory overview of IFT and highlights the role of algae in its analysis.