Whole-genome sequencing to identify mutants and polymorphisms in chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Susan K. Dutcher, Linya Li, Huawen Lin, Leslie Meyer, Thomas H. Giddings, Alan L. Kwan, Brian L. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) provides a new platform for the identification of mutations that produce a mutant phenotype. We used Illumina sequencing to identify the mutational profile of three Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant strains. The three strains have more than 38,000 changes from the reference genome. NG6 is aflagellate and maps to 269 kb with only one nonsynonymous change; the V12E mutation falls in the FLA8 gene. Evidence that NG6 is a fla8 allele comes from swimming revertants that are either true or pseudorevertants. NG30 is aflagellate and maps to 458 kb that has six nonsynonomous changes. Evidence that NG30 has a causative nonsense allele in IFT80 comes from rescue of the nonswimming phenotype with a fragment bearing only this gene. This gene has been implicated in Jeune asphyxiating thoracic dystrophy. Electron microscopy of ift80-1 (NG30) shows a novel basal body phenotype. A bar or cap is observed over the distal end of the transition zone, which may be an intermediate in preparing the basal body for flagellar assembly. In the acetate-requiring mutant ac17, we failed to find a nonsynonymous change in the 676 kb mapped region, which is incompletely assembled. In these strains, 43% of the changes occur on two of the 17 chromosomes. The excess on chromosome 6 surrounds the mating-type locus, which has numerous rearrangements and suppressed recombination, and the changes extend beyond the mating-type locus. Unexpectedly, chromosome 16 shows an unexplained excess of single nucleotide polymorphisms and indels. Overall, WGS in combination with limited mapping allows fast and accurate identification of point mutations in Chlamydomonas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Basal bodies
  • Flagellar assembly
  • Intraflagellar transport (IFT)
  • Mapping
  • Mating-type


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