A mating type-linked gene cluster expressed in Chlamydomonas zygotes participates in the uniparental inheritance of the chloroplast genome

Cell. 1993 Sep 10;74(5):801-11. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(93)90460-8.


A characteristic feature of early zygote development in Chlamydomonas is the selective degradation of chloroplast DNA from the mating type minus parent. The zygote-specific gene cluster ezy-1 is linked to the mating type locus and is transcribed almost immediately upon zygote formation. We show here that the acidic Ezy-1 polypeptide is rapidly transported to both the plus and minus chloroplasts, where it interacts with each chloroplast nucleoid. Expression of ezy-1 is selectively inhibited when plus, but not minus, gametes are briefly ultraviolet irradiated just prior to mating, a treatment known to disrupt the uniparental inheritance of chloroplast traits. We propose that the Ezy-1 polypeptide participates in the destruction of the minus chloroplast DNA in zygotes and thus the uniparental inheritance of chloroplast traits. The ezy-1 gene represents a valuable molecular probe for dissecting mechanisms underlying organelle inheritance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics*
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / physiology
  • Chloroplasts / physiology*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Protozoan Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Zygote / physiology*


  • Protozoan Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L20945
  • GENBANK/L20946
  • GENBANK/L20947
  • GENBANK/L22475
  • GENBANK/L33709
  • GENBANK/S60902
  • GENBANK/S60903
  • GENBANK/S60904
  • GENBANK/S60905
  • GENBANK/S60924