As a photosynthetic alga, the spheroid Volvox rousseletii must move in a light-sensitive way to survive. It achieves this by beating numerous flagella toward its posterior end for swimming forward and turning via changing the direction of flagellar motion from back to front if it perceives light. Exactly how this movement is regulated remains unclear, and existing techniques for studying the mechanism underlying flagellar motility are more suitable for single-celled organisms. Drs. Ueki and Wakabayashi at Tokyo Tech modified them for use with V. rousseletii and developed a powerful method of removing cell membranes with a detergent. The scientists call the demembranated V. rousseletii “Detergent-Extracted Volvox (DEV)” or simply “Zombie Volvox“. The motility of Zombie Volvox can be induced (reactivated) through the addition of an ATP buffer. Adding other substances can then allow the observation of their effects on motility.
The ELE is sure to approve their application now.