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Genetics. 1992 Jan;130(1):97-104.

Multiple effects of mutation on expression of alternative cell surface protein genes in Tetrahymena thermophila.

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Department of Biology, Cleveland State University, Ohio 44115.


Genes at the SerH locus of the ciliated protist Tetrahymena thermophila specify the major (H) surface protein on cells grown at 20-36 degrees. Alternative proteins L, T, S and I are expressed under different conditions of temperature and culture media. Mutants unable to express SerH genes were examined for expression of these proteins, also called immobilization or i-antigens, at both H and non-H conditions. In all instances, one or more i-antigens were expressed in the absence of H, and, in most instances, expression of i-antigens under non-H conditions was also affected. Examples of the latter include both the continued expression of H-replacement antigens and the inability to express certain other i-antigens. Such multiple effects were observed in mutants with trans-acting (rseA, rseB, rseC, RseD) and cis-acting (H1-1 and H1-2) mutations, but not in mutants in which SerH is affected developmentally (B2092, B2101, B2103, B2107). These interactions suggest that the wild-type genes identified by mutation exert both positive and negative effects in the regulation of i-antigen gene expression.

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