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1.  Independent Localization of Plasma Membrane and Chloroplast Components during Eyespot Assembly 
Eukaryotic Cell  2013;12(9):1258-1270.
Like many algae, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is phototactic, using two anterior flagella to swim toward light optimal for photosynthesis. The flagella are responsive to signals initiated at the photosensory eyespot, which comprises photoreceptors in the plasma membrane and layers of pigment granules in the chloroplast. Phototaxis depends on placement of the eyespot at a specific asymmetric location relative to the flagella, basal bodies, and bundles of two or four highly acetylated microtubules, termed rootlets, which extend from the basal bodies toward the posterior of the cell. Previous work has shown that the eyespot is disassembled prior to cell division, and new eyespots are assembled in daughter cells adjacent to the nascent four-membered rootlet associated with the daughter basal body (D4), but the chronology of these assembly events has not been determined. Here we use immunofluorescence microscopy to follow assembly and acetylation of the D4 rootlet, localization of individual eyespot components in the plasma membrane or chloroplast envelope, and flagellar emergence during and immediately following cell division. We find that the D4 rootlet is assembled before the initiation of eyespot assembly, which occurs within the same time frame as rootlet acetylation and flagellar outgrowth. Photoreceptors in the plasma membrane are correctly localized in eyespot mutant cells lacking pigment granule layers, and chloroplast components of the eyespot assemble in mutant cells in which photoreceptor localization is retarded. The data suggest that plasma membrane and chloroplast components of the eyespot are independently responsive to a cytoskeletal positioning cue.
PMCID: PMC3811559  PMID: 23873865
2.  New insights into eyespot placement and assembly in Chlamydomonas 
Bioarchitecture  2011;1(4):196-199.
Aspects of cellular architecture, such as cytoskeletal asymmetry cues, play critical roles in directing the placement of organelles and establishing the sites of their formation. In the model green alga Chlamydomonas, the photosensory eyespot occupies a defined position in relation to the flagella and microtubule cytoskeleton. Investigations into the cellular mechanisms of eyespot placement and assembly have aided our understanding of the interplay between cytoskeletal and plastid components of the cell. The eyespot, which must be assembled anew after each cell division, is a multi-layered organelle consisting of stacks of carotenoid-filled pigment granules in the chloroplast and rhodopsin photoreceptors in the plasma membrane. Placement of the eyespot is determined on both the latitudinal and longitudinal axes of the cell by the daughter four-membered (D4) microtubule rootlet. Recent findings have contributed to the hypothesis that the eyespot photoreceptor molecules are directed from the Golgi to the daughter hemisphere of the cell and trafficked along the D4 microtubule rootlet. EYE2, a chloroplast-envelope protein, forms an elliptical patch together with the photoreceptors and establishes the site for assembly of the pigment granule arrays in the chloroplast, connecting the positioning information of the cytoskeleton to assembly of the pigment granule arrays in the chloroplast.
PMCID: PMC3210518  PMID: 22069514
Chlamydomonas; eyespot; organelle placement; organelle assembly; microtubule rootlet; asymmetry; photoreception
3.  Asymmetric properties of the Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cytoskeleton direct rhodopsin photoreceptor localization 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2011;193(4):741-753.
Daughter four-membered rootlet microtubules direct eyespot positioning and assembly.
The eyespot of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a photoreceptive organelle required for phototaxis. Relative to the anterior flagella, the eyespot is asymmetrically positioned adjacent to the daughter four-membered rootlet (D4), a unique bundle of acetylated microtubules extending from the daughter basal body toward the posterior of the cell. Here, we detail the relationship between the rhodopsin eyespot photoreceptor Channelrhodopsin 1 (ChR1) and acetylated microtubules. In wild-type cells, ChR1 was observed in an equatorial patch adjacent to D4 near the end of the acetylated microtubules and along the D4 rootlet. In cells with cytoskeletal protein mutations, supernumerary ChR1 patches remained adjacent to acetylated microtubules. In mlt1 (multieyed) mutant cells, supernumerary photoreceptor patches were not restricted to the D4 rootlet, and more anterior eyespots correlated with shorter acetylated microtubule rootlets. The data suggest a model in which photoreceptor localization is dependent on microtubule-based trafficking selective for the D4 rootlet, which is perturbed in mlt1 mutant cells.
PMCID: PMC3166873  PMID: 21555459
4.  Thioredoxin-family protein EYE2 and Ser/Thr kinase EYE3 play interdependent roles in eyespot assembly 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(9):1421-1429.
EYE2 is a key protein in connecting the positioning information of the microtubule rootlet cytoskeleton and channelrhodopsin 1 (ChR1) photoreceptor to the formation and positioning of the eyespot pigment granules in the chloroplast of Chlamydomonas. EYE3, a ser/thr kinase of the ABC1 family, is found in pigment granules and is required for their biogenesis.
The eyespot of the biflagellate unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a complex organelle that facilitates directional responses of the cell to environmental light stimuli. The eyespot, which assembles de novo after every cell division and is associated with the daughter four-membered (D4) microtubule rootlet, comprises an elliptical patch of rhodopsin photoreceptors on the plasma membrane and stacks of carotenoid-rich pigment granule arrays in the chloroplast. Two loci, EYE2 and EYE3, define factors involved in the formation and organization of the eyespot pigment granule arrays. Whereas EYE3, a serine/threonine kinase of the ABC1 family, localizes to pigment granules, EYE2 localization corresponds to an area of the chloroplast envelope in the eyespot. EYE2 is positioned along, and adjacent to, the D4 rootlet in the absence of pigment granules. The eyespot pigment granule array is required for maintenance of the elliptical shape of both the overlying EYE2 and channelrhodopsin-1 photoreceptor patches. We propose a model of eyespot assembly wherein rootlet and photoreceptor direct EYE2 to an area of the chloroplast envelope, where it acts to facilitate assembly of pigment granule arrays, and EYE3 plays a role in the biogenesis of the pigment granules.
PMCID: PMC3084665  PMID: 21372178
5.  C2 Domain Protein MIN1 Promotes Eyespot Organization in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii▿ †  
Eukaryotic Cell  2008;7(12):2100-2112.
Assembly and asymmetric localization of the photosensory eyespot in the biflagellate, unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii requires coordinated organization of photoreceptors in the plasma membrane and pigment granule/thylakoid membrane layers in the chloroplast. min1 (mini-eyed) mutant cells contain abnormally small, disorganized eyespots in which the chloroplast envelope and plasma membrane are no longer apposed. The MIN1 gene, identified here by phenotypic rescue, encodes a protein with an N-terminal C2 domain and a C-terminal LysM domain separated by a transmembrane sequence. This novel domain architecture led to the hypothesis that MIN1 is in the plasma membrane or the chloroplast envelope, where membrane association of the C2 domain promotes proper eyespot organization. Mutation of conserved C2 domain loop residues disrupted association of the MIN1 C2 domain with the chloroplast envelope in moss cells but did not abolish eyespot assembly in Chlamydomonas. In min1 null cells, channelrhodopsin-1 (ChR1) photoreceptor levels were reduced, indicating a role for MIN1 in ChR1 expression and/or stability. However, ChR1 localization was only minimally disturbed during photoautotrophic growth of min1 cells, conditions under which the pigment granule layers are disorganized. The data are consistent with the hypothesis that neither MIN1 nor proper organization of the plastidic components of the eyespot is essential for localization of ChR1.
PMCID: PMC2593190  PMID: 18849467

Results 1-5 (5)