The nexin-dynein regulatory complex (N-DRC), which is a major hub for the control of flagellar motility, contains at least 11 different subunits. A major challenge is to determine the location and function of each of these subunits within the N-DRC. We characterized a Chlamydomonas mutant defective in the N-DRC subunit DRC3. Of the known N-DRC subunits, the drc3 mutant is missing only DRC3. Like other N-DRC mutants, the drc3 mutant has a defect in flagellar motility. However, in contrast to other mutations affecting the N-DRC, drc3 does not suppress flagellar paralysis caused by loss of radial spokes. Cryo-electron tomography revealed that the drc3 mutant lacks a portion of the N-DRC linker domain, including the L1 protrusion, part of the distal lobe, and the connection between these two structures, thus localizing DRC3 to this part of the N-DRC. This and additional considerations enable us to assign DRC3 to the L1 protrusion. Because the L1 protrusion is the only non-dynein structure in contact with the dynein g motor domain in wild-type axonemes and this is the only N-DRC-dynein connection missing in the drc3 mutant, we conclude that DRC3 interacts with dynein g to regulate flagellar waveform.
© 2015 Awata, Song, et al. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). Two months after publication it is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).