Isolation of the chlamydomonas regulatory gene NIT2 by transposon tagging

R. A. Schnell, P. A. Lefebvre

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Genetic evidence suggests that the NIT2 gene of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii encodes a positive regulator of the nitrate-assimilation pathway. To learn more about the function of the NIT2 gene product, we isolated the gene using a transposon-tagging strategy. A nit2 mutation caused by the insertion of a transposon was identified by testing spontaneous nit2 mutants for the presence of new copies of Gulliver or TOC1, transposable elements that have been identified in Chlamydomonas. In 2 of the 14 different mutants that were analyzed, a Gulliver element was found to be genetically and phenotypically associated with the nit2 mutation. Using the Gulliver element as a probe, one of the transposon-induced nit2 alleles was isolated, and a sequence adjoining the transposon was used to isolate the corresponding wild-type locus. The NIT2 gene was delimited by mapping DNA rearrangements associated with nit2 mutations and mutant rescue by genetic transformation. The NIT2 gene encodes a 6-kb transcript that was not detected in cells grown in the presence of ammonium. Likewise, NIT2-dependent genes are repressed in ammonium-grown cells. These results suggest that repression of the NIT2 gene may mediate metabolite repression of the nitrate assimilation pathway in Chlamydomonas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-747
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993

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