We have analyzed extragenic suppressors of paralyzed flagella mutations in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in an effort to identify new dynein mutations. A temperature-sensitive allele of the PF16 locus was mutagenized and then screened for revertants that could swim at the restrictive temperature (Dutcher et al. 1984. J. Cell Biol. 98:229-236). In backcrosses of one of the revertant strains to wild-type, we recovered both the original pf16 mutation and a second, unlinked suppressor mutation with its own flagellar phenotype. This mutation has been identified by both recombination and complementation tests as a new allele of the previously uncharacterized PF9 locus on linkage group XII/XIII. SDS-PAGE analysis of isolated flagellar axonemes and dynein extracts has demonstrated that the pf9 strains are missing four polypeptides that form the I1 inner arm dynein subunit. The primary effect of the loss of the I1 subunit is a decrease in the forward swimming velocity due to a change in the flagellar waveform. Both the flagellar beat frequency and the axonemal ATPase activity are nearly wild-type. Examination of axonemes by thin section electron microscopy and image averaging methods reveals that a specific domain of the inner arm complex is missing in the pf9 mutant strains (see accompanying paper by Mastronarde et al.). When combined with other flagellar defects, the loss of the I1 subunit has synergistic effects on both flagellar assembly and flagellar motility. These synthetic phenotypes provide a screen for new suppressor mutations in other loci. Using this approach, we have identified the first interactive suppressors of a dynein arm mutation and an unusual bypass suppressor mutation.

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