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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Flagellar adhesion between mating type plus and mating type minus gametes activates a flagellar protein-tyrosine kinase during fertilization in Chlamydomonas.

When Chlamydomonas gametes of opposite mating type are mixed together, flagellar adhesion through sex-specific adhesion molecules triggers a transient elevation of intracellular cAMP, leading to gamete activation in preparation for cell-cell fusion and zygote formation. Here, we have identified a protein-tyrosine kinase (PTK) activity that is stimulated by flagellar adhesion. We determined that the protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein inhibited fertilization, and that fertilization was rescued by dibutyryl cAMP, indicating that the genistein-sensitive step was upstream of the increase in cAMP. Incubation with ATP of flagella isolated from non-adhering and adhering gametes followed by SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting with anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies showed that adhesion activated a flagellar PTK that phosphorylated a 105-kDa flagellar protein. Assays using an exogenous protein-tyrosine kinase substrate confirmed that the activated PTK could be detected only in flagella isolated from adhering gametes. Our results indicate that stimulation of the PTK is a very early event during fertilization. Activation of the PTK was blocked when gametes underwent flagellar adhesion in the presence of the protein kinase inhibitor staurosporine, but not in the presence of the cyclic nucleotide-dependent protein kinase inhibitor, H8, which (unlike staurosporine) does not block the increases in cAMP. In addition, incubation of gametes of a single mating type in dibutyryl cAMP failed to activate the PTK. Finally, flagella adhesion between plus and minus fla10-1 gametes, which have a temperature-sensitive lesion in the microtubule motor protein kinesin-II, failed to activate the PTK at elevated temperatures. Our results show that kinesin-II is essential for coupling flagellar adhesion to activation of a flagellar PTK and cAMP generation during fertilization in Chlamydomonas.[1]


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