Flagella of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii are nearly identical to cilia of vertebrate cells and provide an excellent model to study ciliogenesis. Cilia and flagella are important organelles used for motility and sensing the extracellular environment. Abnormalities in cilia structure or ciliary dysfunction can have devastating consequences ranging from diabetes and obesity to polycystic kidney disease and mental retardation. Small-molecule inhibitor libraries can be used to screen for flagellum-associated phenotypes in assembly, length, motility, deflagellation, and cellular toxicity. These phenotypes can be assessed from direct microscopic visualization and custom-designed assays. These methods identify fundamental regulators of ciliary biology as well as potential therapeutic interventions for ciliopathies.
Keywords: Chemical screen; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii; Flagellar length; Motility.