Insertional mutagenesis, in which a piece of exogenous DNA is integrated randomly into the genomic DNA of the recipient cell, is a useful method to generate new mutants with phenotypes of interest. The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is an outstanding model for studying many biological processes. We developed a new computational algorithm, MAPINS (map-ping insertions), to efficiently identify insertion sites created by the integration of an APHVIII (aminoglycoside 3′-phosphotransferase VIII) cassette that confers paromomycin resistance. Using whole-genome sequencing data, this method eliminates the need for genomic DNA manipulation and retains all the sequencing information provided by paired-end sequencing. We experimentally verified 38 insertion sites out of 41 sites (93%) identified by MAPINS from 20 paromomycin-resistant strains. Using meiotic analysis of 18 of these strains, we identified insertion sites that completely cosegregate with paromomycin resistance. In six of the seven strains with a mutant phenotype, we demonstrated complete cosegregation of the mutant phenotype and the verified insertion site. In addition, we provide direct evidence of complex rearrangements of genomic DNA in five strains, three of which involve the APHVIII insertion site. We suggest that strains obtained by insertional mutagenesis are more complicated than expected from previous analyses in Chlamydomonas. To map the locations of some complex insertions, we designed 49 molecular markers based on differences identified via whole-genome sequencing between wild-type strains CC-124 and CC-125. Overall, MAPINS provides a low-cost, efficient method to characterize insertional mutants in Chlamydomonas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1436-1447
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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