PF20 gene product contains WD repeats and localizes to the intermicrotubule bridges in Chlamydomonas flagella

Elizabeth F. Smith, Paul A. Lefebvre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The central pair of microtubules and their associated structures play a significant role in regulating flagellar motility. To begin a molecular analysis of these components, we generated central apparatus-defective mutants in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii using insertional mutagenesis. One paralyzed mutant recovered in our screen contains an allele of a previously identified mutation, pf20. Mutant cells have paralyzed flagella, and the entire central apparatus is missing in isolated axonemes. We have cloned the wild-type PF20 gene and confirmed its identity by rescuing the pf20 mutant phenotype upon transformation. Rescued transformants were wild type in motility and in axonemal ultrastructure. A cDNA clone containing a single, long open reading frame was obtained and sequenced. Database searches using the predicted 606-amino acid sequence of PF20 indicate that the protein contains five contiguous WD repeats. These repeats are found in a number of proteins with diverse cellular functions including β-transducin and dynein intermediate chains. An antibody was raised against a fusion protein expressed from the cloned cDNA. Immunogold labeling of wild-type axonemes indicates that the PF20 protein is localized along the length of the C2 microtubule on the intermicrotubule bridges connecting the two central microtubules. We suggest that the PF20 gene product is a new member of the family of WD repeat proteins and is required for central microtubule assembly and/or stability and flagellar motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-467
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


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