Genetics of the deflagellation pathway in Chlamydomonas

  • Finst R
  • Kim P
  • Quarmby L
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Signal-induced deflagellation in Chlamydomonas involves Ca2+-activated breakage of the nine outer-doublet axonemal microtubules at a specific site in the flagellar transition zone. In this study, we isolated 13 new deflagellation mutants that can be divided into two phenotypic classes, the Adf class and the Fa class. Cells with the Adf deflagellation phenotype are defective in acid-stimulated Ca2+ influx, but can be induced to deflagellate by treatment with nonionic detergent and Ca2+. Genetic analyses show that the five new Adf mutations, as well as the previously identified adf1 mutation, are alleles of the ADF1 gene. Mutants in the second phenotypic class, the Fa mutants, fail to deflagellate in response to any known chemical stimulus and are defective in Ca2+-activated microtubule severing. Genetic analysis of these eight new Fa strains demonstrated that they define two complementation groups, and one of these contains the previously identified fa1 mutation. Diploid analysis showed that five alleles map to the FA1 gene, whereas four alleles define a novel gene that we have named FA2. The isolation of multiple mutant alleles of each gene, generated by either ultraviolet irradiation or insertional mutagenesis, indicates that ADF1, FA1, and FA2 may be the only genes that can be identified in a loss-of-function screen. These alleles should provide a better understanding of the regulation of microtubule severing by Ca2+.

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  • Rip J. Finst

  • Peter J. Kim

  • Lynne M. Quarmby

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