An insertional mutant of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii with defective microtubule positioning

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Cell Biology; Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Centrosome; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; Flagella; Microtubules; Mutagenesis, Insertional; Mutation; Nitrate Reductase; Nitrate Reductases; Recombinant Fusion Proteins; Transformation, Genetic


Cell Biology


cmu1-1 is a new mutation of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that causes a change in cell shape due to an alteration of cytoplasmic microtubule organization. cmu1 mutant cells were first identified based on their altered cell shape. Unlike wild-type cells, which are ellipsoid, cmu1 cells tend to be either round or egg-shaped with the flagella extending from the narrow end of the cell. Electron microscopic comparison of mutant and wild-type cells indicated that microtubule distribution was altered in the mutant cells. Immunofluorescence microscopy using anti-beta-tubulin antibodies revealed that, in wild-type cells, microtubules arise from the anterior end of the cell in the region of the basal bodies, pass posteriorly subjacent to the plasma membrane, and terminate near the posterior end of the cell. In mutant cells, the microtubules also arise from the basal body region but then become disarrayed. They frequently curl back anteriorly or wrap around the equator of the cell; some microtubules also extend completely to the posterior end of the cell, then turn back toward the anterior end. No changes in the basal body region were detected by electron microscopy. Some cmu1 cells had multiple nuclei or an aberrant number of flagella, both of which may be due to defects in cell division, a process dependent upon microtubules. Thus, cmu1-1, which was generated by insertional mutagenesis and is tagged, appears to encode a protein that plays an essential role in the spatial organization of cytoplasmic microtubules involved in both interphase and mitotic functions.

DOI of Published Version



Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1999 Oct;44(2):143-54. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Cell motility and the cytoskeleton

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID