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Two sets of motor proteins underpin motile cilia/flagella function. The axoneme-associated inner and outer dynein arms drive sliding of adjacent axoneme microtubule doublets to periodically bend the flagellum for beating, while intraflagellar transport (IFT) kinesins and dyneins carry IFT trains bidirectionally along the axoneme. Despite assembling motile cilia and flagella, IFT train speeds have only previously been quantified in immobilized flagella—mechanical immobilization or genetic paralysis. This has limited investigation of the interaction between IFT and flagellar beating. Here, in uniflagellate Leishmania parasites, we use high-frequency, dual-color fluorescence microscopy to visualize IFT train movement in beating flagella. We discovered that adhesion of flagella to a microscope slide is detrimental, reducing IFT train speed and increasing train stalling. In flagella free to move, IFT train speed is not strongly dependent on flagella beat type; however, permanent disruption of flagella beating by deletion of genes necessary for formation or regulation of beating showed an inverse correlation of beat frequency and IFT train speed.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Cell Biology


Rockefeller University Press

Publication Date