Three-dimensional organization of basal bodies from wild-type and δ-tubulin deletion strains of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Eileen T. O'Toole, Thomas H. Giddings, J. Richard McIntosh, Susan K. Dutcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

109 Scopus citations

Abstract

Improved methods of specimen preparation and dual-axis electron tomography have been used to study the structure and organization of basal bodies in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Novel structures have been found in both wild type and strains with mutations that affect specific tubulin isoforms. Previous studies have shown that strains lacking 8-tubulin fail to assemble the C-tubule of the basal body. Tomographic reconstructions of basal bodies from the δ-tubulin deletion mutant uni3-1 have confirmed that basal bodies contain mostly doublet microtubules. Our methods now show that the stellate fibers, which are present only in the transition zone of wild-type cells, repeat within the core of uni3-1 basal bodies. The distal striated fiber is incomplete in this mutant, rootlet microtubules can be misplaced, and multiflagellate cells have been observed. A suppressor of uni3-1, designated tua2-6, contains a mutation in α-tubulin. tua2-6; uni3-1 cells build both flagella, yet they retain defects in basal body structure and in rootlet microtubule positioning. These data suggest that the presence of specific tubulin isoforms in Chlamydomonas directly affects the assembly and function of both basal bodies and basal body-associated structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2999-3012
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

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