The abundant retinal protein of the Chlamydomonas eye is not the photoreceptor for phototaxis and photophobic responses

M Fuhrmann, A Stahlberg, E Govorunova, S Rank, P Hegemann
2001 Journal of Cell Science  
The chlamyopsin gene (cop) encodes the most abundant eyespot protein in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. This opsin-related protein (COP) binds retinal and was thought to be the photoreceptor controlling photomovement responses via a set of photoreceptor currents. Unfortunately, opsin-deficient mutants are not available and targeted disruption of non-selectable nuclear genes is not yet possible in any green alga. Here we show that intron-containing gene fragments directly
more » ... nked to their intron-less antisense counterpart provide efficient post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) in C. reinhardtii, thus allowing an efficient reduction of a specific gene product in a green alga. In opsin-deprived transformants, flash-induced photoreceptor currents (PC) are left unchanged. Moreover, photophobic responses as studied by motion analysis and phototaxis tested in a light-scattering assay were indistinguishable from the responses of untransformed wild-type cells. We conclude that phototaxis and photophobic responses in C. reinhardtii are triggered by an as yet unidentified rhodopsin species.
pmid:11719552 fatcat:brnvim5zgveaph3at5f45mhb2i