Dutcher Lab Research
The Dutcher Lab studies the assembly and function of basal bodies/centrioles and cilia using genetics, biochemistry, microscopy, and computational biology. Motile cilia play roles in moving cells and fluids. Sensory cilia play essential roles in monitoring the environment. Chlamydmonas uses its flagella (or cilia) in both ways. To build cilia, one needs to have functional basal bodies.
Centrioles are highly ordered structures composed of nine sets of triplet microtubules arranged in a turbine pattern. They possess various structural elaborations and are composed of over 150 polypeptides. Centrioles are found in the microtubule organizing center of most eukaryotic cells. They are required for the recruitment of the pericentriolar material to assemble a centrosome and are required for faithful completion of cytokinesis. Eukaryotic basal bodies are structurally similar to centrioles and interconvert in the cell cycle; they serve as templates for the assembly of cilia and flagella and as docking sites for molecular motors.
The unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii provides an ideal system to address centriole assembly and function genetically, microscopically, and biochemically. During interphase, basal bodies are found at the anterior end of the cell at the proximal ends of the two flagella. During mitosis, the flagella are resorbed and the basal bodies are located near the poles of the mitotic spindle. Several mutations profoundly alter the assembly and function of basal bodies. A mutation in the UNI3 gene, which encodes delta-tubulin, results in the assembly of basal bodies that have doublet rather than triplet microtubules. These mutant cells have a defect in placement of the cleavage furrow. Mutations in the BLD2 gene also result in the assembly of abnormal basal bodies in Chlamydomonas and the locus encodes epsilon-tubulin is the product of the BLD2 locus. Thus, two members of the tubulin superfamily are needed for basal body function.
RED: current members of the lab or collaborators
Studying basal body assembly
Computational genomics to find ciliary protein
Studying the assembly of cilia and sensory function
Studying the role of basal bodies in mitotic spindle function
Studying dynein mutants in Chlamydomonas
Home | Research | About Us | Publications | Links | Contact Us
|This page last updated: 9/18/09 • © 2009 Washington University, All Rights Reserved|