Chlamydomonas eugametos gametes of opposite mating type make cell-cell contact via their flagellar surfaces. This contact triggers an increase in the intracellular level of cyclic AMP (cAMP) and several cellular responses which are necessary for cell fusion. Here, we show that wheat-germ agglutinin, which binds to the flagellar surface and induces all mating responses, also increased the intracellular cAMP level. Dibutyryl-cAMP added to non-mating gametes induced flagellar twitching, cell-wall lysis, mating-structure activation, flagellartip activation and an increase in agglutinability. It did not induce agglutinin transport to the flagellar tip (tipping) and may not be the direct cause of flagellar twitching and flagellar-tip activation. In non-illuminated cells, dibutyryl-cAMP was far more effective in evoking mating reactions than in illuminated cells. Light induced a 50% decrease in the cAMP level within 1 min. Adenylate cyclase was found to be associated with cell membranes but only 8% of the total was present in the gamete flagella.