Chlamydomonas Reinhardtii - Model Organism

Model Organism

Chlamydomonas is used as a model organism for research on fundamental questions in cell and molecular biology such as:

  • How do cells move?
  • How do cells respond to light?
  • How do cells recognize one another?
  • How do cells generate regular, repeatable flagellar waveforms?
  • How do cells regulate their proteome to control flagellar length?
  • How do cells respond to changes in mineral nutrition? (nitrogen, sulfur etc.)

There are many known mutants of C. reinhardtii. These mutants are useful tools for studying a variety of biological processes, including flagellar motility, photosynthesis or protein synthesis. Since Chlamydomonas species are normally haploid, the effects of mutations are seen immediately without further crosses.

In 2007, the complete nuclear genome sequence of C. reinhardtii was published.

Channelrhodopsin-1 and Channelrhodopsin-2, proteins that function as light-gated cation channels, were originally isolated from C. reinhardtii. These proteins and others like them are increasingly widely used in the field of optogenetics.

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