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Genetics. 1991 Feb;127(2):335-43.

Mitochondrial genetics of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: resistance mutations marking the cytochrome b gene.

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Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France.


We describe the genetic and molecular analysis of the first non-Mendelian mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii resistant to myxothiazol, an inhibitor of the respiratory cytochrome bc1 complex. Using a set of seven oligonucleotide probes, restriction fragments containing the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cyt b) gene from C. reinhardtii were isolated from a mitochondrial DNA library. This gene is located adjacent to the gene for subunit 4 of the mitochondrial NADH-dehydrogenase (ND4), near one end of the 15.8-kb linear mitochondrial genome of C. reinhardtii. The algal cytochrome b apoprotein contains 381 amino-acid residues and exhibits a sequence similarity of about 59% with other plant cytochrome b proteins. The cyt b gene from four myxothiazol resistant mutants of C. reinhardtii was amplified for DNA sequence analysis. In comparison to the wild-type strain, all mutants contain an identical point mutation in the cyt b gene, leading to a change of a phenylalanine codon to a leucine codon at amino acid position 129 of the cytochrome b protein. Segregation analysis in tetrads from reciprocal crosses of mutants with wild type shows a strict uniparental inheritance of this mutation from the mating type minus parent (UP-). However, mitochondrial markers from both parents are recovered in vegetative diploids in variable proportions from one experiment to the next for a given cross. On the average, a strong bias is seen for markers inherited from the mating type minus parent.

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