What is it about?

Alpha- and beta-tubulin, widely conserved among all eukaryotes, constitute microtubules essential for cell division and motility. While the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas has two alpha- and two beta-tubulin genes, we developed strains having only one each. These strains enabled us to isolate many tubulin mutants with altered sensitivities to anti-tubulin drugs.

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Why is it important?

Microtubules are composed of heterodimers of alpha- and beta-tubulin. Many multicellular organisms, however, have several tubulin genes that produce similar but distinct types of alpha-/beta-tubulins and usually produce heterologous microtubules containing multiple tubulin species. It is thus not easy to study the properties of a specific tubulin protein. Our single tubulin-gene strains and tubulin mutants must contribute to exploring cellular tubulin function.


Before this paper, only five kinds of Chlamydomonas tubulin mutations were reported. This scarcity is partly due to the presence of two alpha- and two beta-tubulin genes in this organism. Our single-tubulin gene strains enabled us to isolate 32 strains bearing 19 novel tubulin mutations. Our method will facilitate studies on the structure-function relationship of tubulin, which is crucially important in both biological and medical fields.

Takako Kato-Minoura
Chuo Daigaku

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Chlamydomonas reinhardtii tubulin-gene disruptants for efficient isolation of strains bearing tubulin mutations, PLoS ONE, November 2020, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0242694.
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