RebL1 is required for macronuclear structure stability and gametogenesis in Tetrahymena thermophila

Mar Life Sci Technol. 2024 Mar 26;6(2):183-197. doi: 10.1007/s42995-024-00219-z. eCollection 2024 May.


Histone modification and nucleosome assembly play important roles in chromatin-related processes. Histone chaperones form different complexes and coordinate histone transportation and assembly. Various histone chaperone complexes have been identified in different organisms. The ciliate protozoa (ciliates) have various chromatin structures and different nuclear morphology. However, histone chaperone components and functions of different subunits remain unclear in ciliates. Tetrahymema thermophila contains a transcriptionally active macronucleus (MAC) and a transcriptionally inactive micronucleus (MIC) which exhibit multiple replication and various chromatin remodeling progresses during vegetative growth and sexual developmental stages. Here, we found histone chaperone RebL1 not only localized evenly in the transcriptionally active MAC but also dynamically changed in the MIC during vegetative growth and sexual developmental stages. REBL1 knockdown inhibited cellular proliferation. The macronuclear morphology became bigger in growing mutants. The abnormal macronuclear structure also occurred in the starvation stage. Furthermore, micronuclear meiosis was disturbed during sexual development, leading to a failure to generate new gametic nuclei. RebL1 potentially interacted with various factors involved in histone-modifying complexes and chromatin remodeling complexes in different developmental stages. REBL1 knockdown affected expression levels of the genes involved in chromatin organization and transcription. Taken together, RebL1 plays a vital role in maintaining macronuclear structure stability and gametogenesis in T. thermophila.

Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s42995-024-00219-z.

Keywords: Gametogenesis; Histone chaperone; Macronuclear structure; RebL1; Tetrahymena thermophila.