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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Oct;19(10):4319-27. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E08-05-0470. Epub 2008 Aug 13.

A protein methylation pathway in Chlamydomonas flagella is active during flagellar resorption.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.

Abstract

During intraflagellar transport (IFT), the regulation of motor proteins, the loading and unloading of cargo and the turnover of flagellar proteins all occur at the flagellar tip. To begin an analysis of the protein composition of the flagellar tip, we used difference gel electrophoresis to compare long versus short (i.e., regenerating) flagella. The concentration of tip proteins should be higher relative to that of tubulin (which is constant per unit length of the flagellum) in short compared with long flagella. One protein we have identified is the cobalamin-independent form of methionine synthase (MetE). Antibodies to MetE label flagella in a punctate pattern reminiscent of IFT particle staining, and immunoblot analysis reveals that the amount of MetE in flagella is low in full-length flagella, increased in regenerating flagella, and highest in resorbing flagella. Four methylated proteins have been identified in resorbing flagella, using antibodies specific for asymmetrically dimethylated arginine residues. These proteins are found almost exclusively in the axonemal fraction, and the methylated forms of these proteins are essentially absent in full-length and regenerating flagella. Because most cells resorb cilia/flagella before cell division, these data indicate a link between flagellar protein methylation and progression through the cell cycle.

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