Journal Article

Characterization of novel genes induced by sexual adhesion and gamete fusion and of their transcriptional regulation in <i>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</i>

Takeaki Kubo, Jun Abe, Takeshi Oyamada, Makoto Ohnishi, Hideya Fukuzawa, Yoshihiro Matsuda and Tatsuaki Saito

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 49, issue 6, pages 981-993
Published in print June 2008 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pcp/pcn076
Characterization of novel genes induced by sexual adhesion and gamete fusion and of their transcriptional regulation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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When mating type plus and minus gametes of Chlamydomonas are mixed, they agglutinate with each other via their flagella, fuse, then initiate the zygote formation program which includes synthesis of the zygote cell wall, fusion of nuclei and chloroplasts, and the digestion of chloroplast DNA from the minus parent. The mRNAs from gamete and zygote cells was isolated and hybridized to cDNA-macroarray filters both to identify new genes expressed during the mating reaction and the early zygote formation process and to analyze the gene expression programs that underlie these sexual processes. Twenty-one novel genes were identified in this screen, designated as EZY (early zygote expressed) genes. The EZY genes included genes encoding proteins whose function is unknown, and genes encoding proteins that appear to be involved in processes such as cell wall synthesis, gene expression, intracellular trafficking or secretion, and vesicular transport in zygotic cells. All of the EZY genes were strongly induced within 1 h during the mating process, including early zygote formation. The transcriptional characteristics of EZY genes were analyzed by using the fusion-defective mutant fus mt+. Among the EZY genes, 12 genes were not activated in fusion-defective conditions, suggesting that cell fusion is required for their expression. The remaining nine that were transcribed in fusion-defective fus matings were also inducible by cell wall removal in either vegetative or gametic cells, indicating that these genes were induced only indirectly by the cAMP signaling pathway initiated by flagellar agglutination as a result of mating-induced cell wall loss.

Keywords: Cell–cell recognition; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; Transcriptional regulation; Zygote formation

Journal Article.  8190 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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