Forty single gene mutations in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were isolated based on resistance to the compound 5'-methyl anthranilic acid (5-MAA). In other organisms, 5-MAA is converted to 5'-methyltryptophan (5-MT) and 5-MT is a potent inhibitor of anthranilate synthase, which catalyzes the first committed step in tryptophan biosynthesis. The mutant strains fall into two phenotypic classes based on the rate of cell division in the absence of 5- MAA. Strains with class I mutations divide more slowly than wild-type cells. These 17 mutations map to seven loci, which are designated MAA1 to MAA7. Strains with class II mutations have generation times indistinguishable from wild-type cells, and 7 of these 23 mutations map to loci defined by class I mutations. The remainder of the class II mutations map to 9 other loci, which are designated MAA8-MAA16. The maa5-1 mutant strain excretes high levels of anthranilate and phenylalanine into the medium. In this strain, four enzymatic activities in the tryptophan biosynthetic pathway are increased at least twofold. These include the combined activities of anthranilate phosphoribosyl transferase, phosphoribosyl anthranilate isomerase, indoleglycerol phosphate synthetase and anthranilate synthase. The slow growth phenotypes of strains with class I mutations are not rescued by the addition of tryptophan, but the slow growth phenotype of the maa6-1 mutant strain is partially rescued by the addition of indole. The maa6-1 mutant strain excretes a fluorescent compound into the medium, and cell extracts have no combined anthranilate phosphoribosyl transferase, phosphoribosyl anthranilate isomerase and indoleglycerol phosphate synthetase activity. The MAA6 locus is likely to encode a tryptophan biosynthetic enzyme. None of the other class I mutations affected these enzyme activities. Based on the phenotypes of double mutant strains, epistatic relationships among the class I mutations have been determined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-607
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1992


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