The cartwheel is a subcentriolar structure consisting of a central hub and nine radially arranged spokes, located at the proximal end of the centriole. It appears at the initial stage of the centriole assembly process as the first ninefold symmetrical structure. The cartwheel was first described more than 50 years ago, but it is only recently that its pivotal role in establishing the ninefold symmetry of the centriole was demonstrated. Significant progress has since been made in understanding its fine structure and assembly mechanism. Most importantly, the central part of the cartwheel, from which the ninefold symmetry originates, is shown to form by self-association of nine dimers of the protein SAS-6. This finding, together with emerging data on other components of the cartwheel, has opened new avenues in centrosome biology.
Cilia/flagella are assembled and maintained by the process of intraflagellar transport (IFT), a highly conserved mechanism involving more than 20 IFT proteins. However, the functions of individual IFT proteins are mostly unclear. To help address this issue, we focused on a putative IFT protein TTC26/DYF13. Using live imaging and biochemical approaches we show that TTC26/DYF13 is an IFT complex B protein in mammalian cells and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Knockdown of TTC26/DYF13 in zebrafish embryos or mutation of TTC26/DYF13 in C. reinhardtii, produced short cilia with abnormal motility. Surprisingly, IFT particle assembly and speed were normal in dyf13 mutant flagella, unlike in other IFT complex B mutants. Proteomic and biochemical analyses indicated a particular set of proteins involved in motility was specifically depleted in the dyf13 mutant. These results support the concept that different IFT proteins are responsible for different cargo subsets, providing a possible explanation for the complexity of the IFT machinery. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01566.001.
The axoneme-the conserved core of eukaryotic cilia and flagella-contains highly specialized doublet microtubules (DMTs). A long-standing question is what protein(s) compose the junctions between two tubules in DMT. Here we identify a highly conserved flagellar-associated protein (FAP), FAP20, as an inner junction (IJ) component. The flagella of Chlamydomonas FAP20 mutants have normal length but beat with an abnormal symmetrical three-dimensional pattern. In addition, the mutant axonemes are liable to disintegrate during beating, implying that interdoublet connections may be weakened. Conventional electron microscopy shows that the mutant axonemes lack the IJ, and cryo-electron tomography combined with a structural labeling method reveals that the labeled FAP20 localizes at the IJ. The mutant axonemes also lack doublet-specific beak structures, which are localized in the proximal portion of the axoneme and may be involved in planar asymmetric flagellar bending. FAP20 itself, however, may not be a beak component, because uniform localization of FAP20 along the entire length of all nine DMTs is inconsistent with the beak's localization. FAP20 is the first confirmed component of the IJ. Our data also suggest that the IJ is important for both stabilizing the axoneme and scaffolding intra-B-tubular substructures required for a planar asymmetrical waveform.
Aquatic microalgae induce a carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM) to maintain photosynthetic activity in low-CO2 (LC) conditions. Although the molecular mechanism of the CCM has been investigated using the single-cell green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, and several CCM-related genes have been identified by analyzing high-CO2 (HC)-requiring mutants, many aspects of the CO2-signal transduction pathways remain to be elucidated. In this study, we report the isolation of novel HC-requiring mutants defective in the induction of CCM by DNA tagging. Growth rates of 20,000 transformants grown under HC and LC conditions were compared, and three HC-requiring mutants (H24, H82, and P103) were isolated. The photosynthetic CO2-exchange activities of these mutants were significantly decreased compared with that of wild-type cells, and accumulation of HLA3 and both LCIA and HLA3 were absent in mutants H24 and H82, respectively. Although the insertion of the marker gene and the HC-requiring phenotype were linked in the tetrad progeny of H82, and a calcium-sensing receptor CAS was disrupted by the insertion, exogenous expression of CAS alone could not complement the HC-requiring phenotype.
Cilia and flagella contain nine outer doublet microtubules and a pair of central microtubules. The central pair of microtubules (CP) is important for cilia/flagella beating, as clearly shown by primary ciliary dyskinesia resulting from the loss of the CP. The CP is thought to regulate axonemal dyneins through interaction with radial spokes (RSs). However, the nature of the CP-RS interaction is poorly understood. Here we examine the appearance of CPs in the axonemes of a Chlamydomonas mutant, bld12, which produces axonemes with 8 to 11 outer-doublets. Most of its 8-doublet axonemes lack CPs. However, in the double mutant of bld12 and pf14, a mutant lacking the RS, most 8-doublet axonemes contain the CP. Thus formation of the CP apparently depends on the internal space limited by the outer doublets and RSs. In 10- or 11-doublet axonemes, only 3-5 RSs are attached to the CP and the doublet arrangement is distorted most likely because the RSs attached to the CP pull the outer doublets toward the axonemal center. The CP orientation in the axonemes varies in double mutants formed between bld12 and mutants lacking particular CP projections. The mutant bld12 thus provides the first direct and visual information about the CP-RS interaction, as well as about the mechanism of CP formation.
Tubulin undergoes various posttranslational modifications, including polyglutamylation, which is catalyzed by enzymes belonging to the tubulin tyrosine ligase-like protein (TTLL) family. A previously isolated Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant, tpg1, carries a mutation in a gene encoding a homologue of mammalian TTLL9 and displays lowered motility because of decreased polyglutamylation of axonemal tubulin. Here we identify a novel tpg1-like mutant, tpg2, which carries a mutation in the gene encoding FAP234, a flagella-associated protein of unknown function. Immunoprecipitation and sucrose density gradient centrifugation experiments show that FAP234 and TTLL9 form a complex. The mutant tpg1 retains FAP234 in the cell body and flagellar matrix but lacks it in the axoneme. In contrast, tpg2 lacks both TTLL9 and FAP234 in all fractions. In fla10, a temperature-sensitive mutant deficient in intraflagellar transport (IFT), both TTLL9 and FAP234 are lost from the flagellum at nonpermissive temperatures. These and other results suggest that FAP234 functions in stabilization and IFT-dependent transport of TTLL9. Both TTLL9 and FAP234 are conserved in most ciliated organisms. We propose that they constitute a polyglutamylation complex specialized for regulation of ciliary motility.
Axonemal dyneins must be precisely regulated and coordinated to produce ordered ciliary/flagellar motility, but how this is achieved is not understood. We analyzed two Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutants, mia1 and mia2, which display slow swimming and low flagellar beat frequency. We found that the MIA1 and MIA2 genes encode conserved coiled-coil proteins, FAP100 and FAP73, respectively, which form the modifier of inner arms (MIA) complex in flagella. Cryo-electron tomography of mia mutant axonemes revealed that the MIA complex was located immediately distal to the intermediate/light chain complex of I1 dynein and structurally appeared to connect with the nexin-dynein regulatory complex. In axonemes from mutants that lack both the outer dynein arms and the MIA complex, I1 dynein failed to assemble, suggesting physical interactions between these three axonemal complexes and a role for the MIA complex in the stable assembly of I1 dynein. The MIA complex appears to regulate I1 dynein and possibly outer arm dyneins, which are both essential for normal motility.
Volvocine green algae represent the "evolutionary time machine" model lineage for studying multicellularity, because they encompass the whole range of evolutionary transition of multicellularity from unicellular Chlamydomonas to >500-celled Volvox. Multicellular volvocalean species including Gonium pectorale and Volvox carteri generally have several common morphological features to survive as integrated multicellular organisms such as "rotational asymmetry of cells" so that the cells become components of the individual and "cytoplasmic bridges between protoplasts in developing embryos" to maintain the species-specific form of the multicellular individual before secretion of new extracellular matrix (ECM). However, these morphological features have not been studied in the four-celled colonial volvocine species Tetrabaena socialis that is positioned in the most basal lineage within the colonial or multicellular volvocine greens. Here we established synchronous cultures of T. socialis and carried out immunofluorescence microscopic and ultrastructural observations to elucidate these two morphological attributes. Based on immunofluorescence microscopy, four cells of the mature T. socialis colony were identical in morphology but had rotational asymmetry in arrangement of microtubular rootlets and separation of basal bodies like G. pectorale and V. carteri. Ultrastructural observations clearly confirmed the presence of cytoplasmic bridges between protoplasts in developing embryos of T. socialis even after the formation of new flagella in each daughter protoplast within the parental ECM. Therefore, these two morphological attributes might have evolved in the common four-celled ancestor of the colonial volvocine algae and contributed to the further increase in cell number and complexity of the multicellular individuals of this model lineage. T. socialis is one of the simplest integrated multicellular organisms in which four identical cells constitute the individual.
Centriole duplication occurs once per cell cycle through the assembly of daughter centrioles on the side wall of pre-existing centrioles. Little is known about the molecules involved in the assembly of new centrioles. Here, we identify CRC70 as a Chlamydomonas protein with an important role in the accumulation of centriole proteins at the site of assembly. CRC70 contains a highly conserved ~50-amino-acid sequence shared by mammalian Cep70 and preferentially localizes to immature centrioles (the procentrioles). This localization is maintained in the mutant bld10, in which centriole formation is blocked before the assembly of centriolar microtubules. RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated knockdown of CRC70 produces flagella-less cells and inhibits the recruitment of other centriole components, such as SAS-6 and Bld10p to the centriole. Overexpression of CRC70 induces an accumulation of these proteins in discrete spots in the cytoplasm. Overexpression of EGFP-tagged CRC70 in mouse NIH3T3 cells causes the formation of structures apparently related to centrioles. These findings suggest that CRC70 is a member of a conserved protein family and functions as a scaffold for the assembly of the centriole precursor.
Centrioles are cylindrical, ninefold symmetrical structures with peripheral triplet microtubules strictly required to template cilia and flagella. The highly conserved protein SAS-6 constitutes the center of the cartwheel assembly that scaffolds centrioles early in their biogenesis. We determined the x-ray structure of the amino-terminal domain of SAS-6 from zebrafish, and we show that recombinant SAS-6 self-associates in vitro into assemblies that resemble cartwheel centers. Point mutations are consistent with the notion that centriole formation in vivo depends on the interactions that define the self-assemblies observed here. Thus, these interactions are probably essential to the structural organization of cartwheel centers.
Axonemal dyneins are preassembled in the cytoplasm before being transported into cilia and flagella. Recently, PF13/KTU, a conserved protein containing a PIH (protein interacting with HSP90) domain, was identified as a protein responsible for dynein preassembly in humans and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This protein is involved in the preassembly of outer arm dynein and some inner arm dyneins, possibly as a cofactor of molecular chaperones. However, it is not known which factors function in the preassembly of other inner arm dyneins. Here, we analyzed a novel C. reinhardtii mutant, ida10, and found that another conserved PIH family protein, MOT48, is responsible for the formation of another subset of inner arm dyneins. A variety of organisms with motile cilia and flagella typically have three to four PIH proteins, including potential homologues of MOT48 and PF13/KTU, whereas organisms without them have no, or only one, such protein. These findings raise the possibility that multiple PIH proteins are commonly involved in the preassembly of different subsets of axonemal dyneins.
Tubulin polyglutamylation is a modification that adds multiple glutamates to the gamma-carboxyl group of a glutamate residue in the C-terminal tails of alpha- and beta-tubulin [1, 2]. This modification has been implicated in the regulation of axonal transport and ciliary motility. However, its molecular function in cilia remains unknown. Here, using a novel Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant (tpg1) that lacks a homolog of human TTLL9, a glutamic acid ligase enzyme , we found that the lack of a long polyglutamate side chain in alpha-tubulin moderately weakens flagellar motility without noticeably impairing the axonemal structure. Furthermore, the double mutant of tpg1 with oda2, a mutation that leads to loss of outer-arm dynein, completely lacks motility. More surprisingly, when treated with protease and ATP, the axoneme of this paralyzed double mutant displayed faster microtubule sliding than the motile oda2 axoneme. These and other results suggest that polyglutamylation directly regulates microtubule-dynein interaction mainly by modulating the function of inner-arm dyneins.
The maintenance of flagellar length is believed to require both anterograde and retrograde intraflagellar transport (IFT). However, it is difficult to uncouple the functions of retrograde transport from anterograde, as null mutants in dynein heavy chain 1b (DHC1b) have stumpy flagella, demonstrating solely that retrograde IFT is required for flagellar assembly. We isolated a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant (dhc1b-3) with a temperature-sensitive defect in DHC1b, enabling inducible inhibition of retrograde IFT in full-length flagella. Although dhc1b-3 flagella at the nonpermissive temperature (34°C) showed a dramatic reduction of retrograde IFT, they remained nearly full-length for many hours. However, dhc1b-3 cells at 34°C had strong defects in flagellar assembly after cell division or pH shock. Furthermore, dhc1b-3 cells displayed altered phototaxis and flagellar beat. Thus, robust retrograde IFT is required for flagellar assembly and function but is dispensable for the maintenance of flagellar length. Proteomic analysis of dhc1b-3 flagella revealed distinct classes of proteins that change in abundance when retrograde IFT is inhibited.
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