Several studies have indicated that the central pair of microtubules and their associated structures play a significant role in regulating flagellar motility. To begin a molecular analysis of these components we have generated central apparatus-defective mutants in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using insertional mutagenesis. One paralyzed mutant recovered in our screen, D2, is an allele of a previously identified mutant, pf16. Mutant cells have paralyzed flagella, and the C1 microtubule of the central apparatus is missing in isolated axonemes. We have cloned the wild-type PF16 gene and confirmed its identity by rescuing pf16 mutants upon transformation. The rescued pf16 culls were wild-type in motility and in axonemal ultrastructure. A full-length cDNA clone for PF16 was obtained and sequenced. Database searches using the predicted 566 amino acid sequence of PF16 indicate that the protein contains eight contiguous armadillo repeats. A number of proteins with diverse cellular functions also contain armadillo repeats including pendulin, Rch1, importin, SRP-1, and armadillo. An antibody was raised against a fusion protein expressed from the cloned cDNA. Immunofluorescence labeling of wild-type flagella indicates that the PF16 protein is localized along the length of the flagella while immunogold labeling further localizes the PF16 protein to a single microtubule of the central pair. Based on the localization results and the presence of the armadillo repeats in this protein, we suggest that the PF16 gene product is involved in protein- protein interactions important for C1 central microtubule stability and flagellar motility.