George B Witman

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Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a unicellular green alga whose lineage diverged from land plants over 1 billion years ago. It is a model system for studying chloroplast-based photosynthesis, as well as the structure, assembly, and function of eukaryotic flagella (cilia), which were inherited from the common ancestor of plants and animals, but lost in land(More)
Cilia and flagella are widespread cell organelles that have been highly conserved throughout evolution and play important roles in motility, sensory perception, and the life cycles of eukaryotes ranging from protists to humans. Despite the ubiquity and importance of these organelles, their composition is not well known. Here we use mass spectrometry to(More)
Eukaryotic cilia and flagella, including primary cilia and sensory cilia, are highly conserved organelles that project from the surfaces of many cells. The assembly and maintenance of these nearly ubiquitous structures are dependent on a transport system — known as 'intraflagellar transport' (IFT) — which moves non-membrane-bound particles from the cell(More)
Intraflagellar transport (IFT) is a rapid movement of multi-subunit protein particles along flagellar microtubules and is required for assembly and maintenance of eukaryotic flagella. We cloned and sequenced a Chlamydomonas cDNA encoding the IFT88 subunit of the IFT particle and identified a Chlamydomonas insertional mutant that is missing this gene. The(More)
Approximately 10% of the photoreceptor outer segment (OS) is turned over each day, requiring large amounts of lipid and protein to be moved from the inner segment to the OS. Defects in intraphotoreceptor transport can lead to retinal degeneration and blindness. The transport mechanisms are unknown, but because the OS is a modified cilium, intraflagellar(More)
Several enzymes, including cytoplasmic and flagellar outer arm dynein, share an Mr 8,000 light chain termed LC8. The function of this chain is unknown, but it is highly conserved between a wide variety of organisms. We have identified deletion alleles of the gene (fla14) encoding this protein in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. These mutants have short, immotile(More)
Dyneins are microtubule-based molecular motors involved in many different types of cell movement. Most dynein heavy chains (DHCs) clearly group into cytoplasmic or axonemal isoforms. However, DHC1b has been enigmatic. To learn more about this isoform, we isolated Chlamydomonas cDNA clones encoding a portion of DHC1b, and used these clones to identify a(More)
Mutations in human CEP290 cause cilia-related disorders that range in severity from isolated blindness to perinatal lethality. Here, we describe a Chlamydomonas reinhardtii mutant in which most of the CEP290 gene is deleted. Immunoelectron microscopy indicated that CEP290 is located in the flagellar transition zone in close association with the prominent(More)