Investigation of Gravitaxis and Phototaxis in Euglena gracilis

Article in Edited Volumes
(Book chapter)

Publication Details

Author(s): Häder DP, Faddoul J, Lebert M, Richter P, Schuster M, Richter R, Strauch S, Daiker V
Editor(s): R. P. Sinha, N.K. Sharma, A.K. Rai
Title edited volumes: Advances in Life Sciences
Publisher: I. K. International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd.
Publication year: 2010
Pages range: 117-131


This article provides an overview of the research of phototaxis and gravitaxis in the unicellular flagellate Euglena gracilis. The cells show positive phototaxis at low light intensities (swimming towards the light source, below 10 W/m2, sunlight) and a negative one upon high irradiances (>10 W/m2). Phototaxis is based on a blue light-activated adenylyl cyclase, which produces cAMP upon irradiation. The further steps following the transient rise of the cAMP concentration are still unknown. Gravitaxis is a movement parallel to an acceleration vector. In the absence of external stimuli the cells swim upward in the water column (negative gravitaxis), upon stress gravitaxis inverts into a positive one. The results of sounding rocket campaigns and of a large number of ground experiments led to the following model of signal perception and transduction in gravitaxis of Euglena gracilis: The body of the cell is heavier than the surrounding medium, sediments and thereby exerts a force onto the lower membrane. Upon deviation from a vertical swimming path mechano-sensitive elements are activated. This leads to an increase in the intracellular calcium concentration and a change of the membrane potential. The increased calcium concentration regulates the action of calmodulin, which in turn modulates an adenylyl cyclase, which converts ATP to cAMP. cAMP probably controls the flagellar beat and/or probably the shape of the cell. Phototaxis as well as gravitaxis are probably controlled by certain protein kinases. The blockage of different protein kinases (PK) by means of RNAi gave rise to the assumption that both signal pathways activate certain PKs. The blockage of one PK resulted in a loss of gravitaxis, the blockage of another one in loss of phototactic behaviour.

FAU Authors / FAU Editors

Daiker, Viktor Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Zellbiologie
Häder, Donat-Peter Prof. Dr.
Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Lebert, Michael PD Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Zellbiologie
Richter, Peter Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Zellbiologie
Richter, Roland
Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik (Astroteilchenphysik)
Schuster, Martin
Lehrstuhl für Zellbiologie
Strauch, Sebastian Dr.
Lehrstuhl für Zellbiologie

External institutions with authors

University of Damascus

How to cite

Häder, D.-P., Faddoul, J., Lebert, M., Richter, P., Schuster, M., Richter, R.,... Daiker, V. (2010). Investigation of Gravitaxis and Phototaxis in Euglena gracilis. In R. P. Sinha, N.K. Sharma, A.K. Rai (Eds.), Advances in Life Sciences. (pp. 117-131). I. K. International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd..

Häder, Donat-Peter, et al. "Investigation of Gravitaxis and Phototaxis in Euglena gracilis." Advances in Life Sciences. Ed. R. P. Sinha, N.K. Sharma, A.K. Rai, I. K. International Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., 2010. 117-131.


Last updated on 2019-28-01 at 07:08