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A mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with a variable number of flagella per cell has been used to investigate flagellar size control. The mutant and wild-type do not differ in cell size nor in flagellar length, yet the size of the intracellular pool of flagellar precursor protein can differ dramatically among individual mutant cells, with, for example, triflagellate cells having three times the pool of monoflagellate cells. Because cells of the same size, but with very different pool sizes, have flagella of identical length, it appears that the concentration of the unassembled flagellar precursor protein pool does not regulate flagellar length. The relation between cell size, pool size, and flagellar length has also been investigated for wild-type cells of different sizes and ploidies. Again, flagellar length appears to be maintained independent of pool size or concentration.
The Journal of Cell Biology