Comparative Phenotyping of Two Commonly Used Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Background Strains: CC-1690 (21gr) and CC-5325 (The CLiP Mutant Library Background)

Ningning Zhang, Leila Pazouki, Huong Nguyen, Sigrid Jacobshagen, Brae M. Bigge, Ming Xia, Erin M. Mattoon, Anastasiya Klebanovych, Maria Sorkin, Dmitri A. Nusinow, Prachee Avasthi, Kirk J. Czymmek, Ru Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is an excellent model organism to investigate many essential cellular processes in photosynthetic eukaryotes. Two commonly used background strains of Chlamydomonas are CC-1690 and CC-5325. CC-1690, also called 21gr, has been used for the Chlamydomonas genome project and several transcriptome analyses. CC-5325 is the background strain for the Chlamydomonas Library Project (CLiP). Photosynthetic performance in CC-5325 has not been evaluated in comparison with CC-1690. Additionally, CC-5325 is often considered to be cell-wall deficient, although detailed analysis is missing. The circadian rhythms in CC-5325 are also unclear. To fill these knowledge gaps and facilitate the use of the CLiP mutant library for various screens, we performed phenotypic comparisons between CC-1690 and CC-5325. Our results showed that CC-5325 grew faster heterotrophically in dark and equally well in mixotrophic liquid medium as compared to CC-1690. CC-5325 had lower photosynthetic efficiency and was more heat-sensitive than CC-1690. Furthermore, CC-5325 had an intact cell wall which had comparable integrity to that in CC-1690 but appeared to have reduced thickness. Additionally, CC-5325 could perform phototaxis, but could not maintain a sustained circadian rhythm of phototaxis as CC1690 did. Finally, in comparison to CC-1690, CC-5325 had longer cilia in the medium with acetate but slower swimming speed in the medium without nitrogen and acetate. Our results will be useful for researchers in the Chlamydomonas community to choose suitable background strains for mutant analysis and employ the CLiP mutant library for genome-wide mutant screens under appropriate conditions, especially in the areas of photosynthesis, thermotolerance, cell wall, and circadian rhythms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number585
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • CC-1690
  • CC-5325
  • Cell wall
  • Chlamydomonas Library Project (CLiP)
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
  • Circadian rhythm of phototaxis
  • Heat tolerance
  • Photosynthesis


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