Resistive force theory and wave dynamics in swimming flagellar apparatus isolated from C. reinhardtii†
Cilia-driven motility and fluid transport are ubiquitous in nature and essential for many biological processes, including swimming of eukaryotic unicellular organisms, mucus transport in airway apparatus or fluid flow in the brain. The-biflagellated micro-swimmer Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a model organism to study the dynamics of flagellar synchronization. Hydrodynamic interactions, intracellular mechanical coupling or cell body rocking is believed to play a crucial role in the synchronization of flagellar beating in green algae. Here, we use freely swimming intact flagellar apparatus isolated from a wall-less strain of Chlamydomonas to investigate wave dynamics. Our analysis on phase coordinates shows that when the frequency difference between the flagella is high (10–41% of the mean), neither mechanical coupling via basal body nor hydrodynamics interactions are strong enough to synchronize two flagella, indicating that the beating frequency is perhaps controlled internally by the cell. We also examined the validity of resistive force theory for a flagellar apparatus swimming freely in the vicinity of a substrate and found quantitative agreement between the experimental data and simulations with a drag anisotropy of ratio 2. Finally, using a simplified wave form, we investigated the influence of phase and frequency differences, intrinsic curvature and wave amplitude on the swimming trajectory of flagellar apparatus. Our analysis shows that by controlling the phase or frequency differences between two flagella, steering can occur.