An outer arm Dynein conformational switch is required for metachronal synchrony of motile cilia in planaria.Mol Biol Cell. 2010 Nov 01; 21(21):3669-79.MB
Motile cilia mediate the flow of mucus and other fluids across the surface of specialized epithelia in metazoans. Efficient clearance of peri-ciliary fluids depends on the precise coordination of ciliary beating to produce metachronal waves. The role of individual dynein motors and the mechanical feedback mechanisms required for this process are not well understood. Here we used the ciliated epithelium of the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea to dissect the role of outer arm dynein motors in the metachronal synchrony of motile cilia. We demonstrate that animals that completely lack outer dynein arms display a significant decline in beat frequency and an inability of cilia to coordinate their oscillations and form metachronal waves. Furthermore, lack of a key mechanosensitive regulatory component (LC1) yields a similar phenotype even though outer arms still assemble in the axoneme. The lack of metachrony was not due simply to a decrease in ciliary beat frequency, as reducing this parameter by altering medium viscosity did not affect ciliary coordination. In addition, we did not observe a significant temporal variability in the beat cycle of impaired cilia. We propose that this conformational switch provides a mechanical feedback system within outer arm dynein that is necessary to entrain metachronal synchrony.