MLT1 links cytoskeletal asymmetry to organelle placement in chlamydomonas

Telsa M. Mittelmeier, Mark D. Thompson, Mary Rose Lamb, Huawen Lin, Carol L. Dieckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Asymmetric placement of the photosensory eyespot organelle in Chlamydomonas is patterned by mother-daughter differences between the two basal bodies, which template the anterior flagella. Each basal body is associated with two bundled microtubule rootlets, one with two microtubules and one with four, forming a cruciate pattern. In wild-type cells, the single eyespot is positioned at the equator in close proximity to the plus end of the daughter rootlet comprising four microtubules, the D4. Here we identify mutations in two linked loci, MLT1 and MLT2, which cause multiple eyespots. Antiserum raised against MLT1 localized the protein along the D4 rootlet microtubules, from the basal bodies to the eyespot. MLT1 associates immediately with the new D4 as it extends during cell division, before microtubule acetylation. MLT1 is a low-complexity protein of over 300,000 Daltons. The expression or stability of MLT1 is dependent on MLT2, predicted to encode a second large, low-complexity protein. MLT1 was not restricted to the D4 rootlet in cells with the vfl2-220 mutation in the gene encoding the basal body-associated protein centrin. The cumulative data highlight the role of mother-daughter basal body differences in establishing asymmetry in associated rootlets, and suggest that eyespot components are directed to the correct location by MLT1 on the D4 microtubules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-123
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015


  • Asymmetry
  • Basal bodies
  • Chlamydomonas
  • Eyespot
  • Microtubules

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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