Differentiation of vegetative cells of the haploid eukaryote Chlamydomonas is dependent on environmental conditions. Upon depletion of nitrogen and exposure to light, vegetative cells undergo a mitotic division, generating gametes that are either mating-type plus (mt[+]) or mating-type minus (mt[-]). As gametes of opposite mating type encounter one another, an initial adhesive interaction mediated by flagella induces a signal transduction pathway that results in activation of gametes. Gametic activation results in the exposure of previously cryptic regions of the plasma membrane (mating structures) that contain the molecules required for gametic cell adhesion and fusion. Recent studies have identified new steps in this signal transduction pathway, including the tyrosine phosphorylation of a cyclic guanosine monophosphate-dependent protein kinase, a requirement for a novel microtubular motility known as intraflagellar transport, and a mt(+)-specific molecule that mediates adhesion between mating structures.