We have isolated a nucleus-basal body complex from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The complex is strongly immunoreactive to an antibody generated against a major protein constituent of isolated Tetraselmis striata flagellar roots (Salisbury, J. L., A. Baron, B. Surek, and M. Melkonian, J. Cell Biol., 99:962-970). Electrophoretic and immunoelectrophoretic analysis indicates that, like the Tetraselmis protein, the Chlamydomonas antigen consists of two acidic isoforms of approximately 20 kD. Indirect immunofluorescent staining of nucleus-basal body complexes reveals two major fibers in the connector region, one between each basal body and the nucleus. The nucleus is also strongly immunoreactive, with staining radiating around much of the nucleus from a region of greatest concentration at the connector pole. Calcium treatment causes shortening of the connector fibers and also movement of nuclear DNA towards the connector pole. Electron microscopic observation of negatively stained nucleus-basal body complexes reveals a cluster of approximately 6-nm filaments, suspected to represent the connector, between the basal bodies and nuclei. A mutant with a variable number of flagella, vfl-2-220, is defective with respect to the nucleus-basal body association. This observation encourages us to speculate that the nucleus-basal body union is important for accurate basal body localization within the cell and/or for accurate segregation of parental and daughter basal bodies at cell division. A physical association between nuclei and basal bodies or centrioles has been observed in a variety of algal, protozoan, and metazoan cells, although the nature of the association, in terms of both structure and function, has been obscure. We believe it likely that fibrous connectors homologous to those described here for Chlamydomonas are general features of centriole-bearing eucaryotic cells.

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