The conserved plant sterility gene HAP2 functions after attachment of fusogenic membranes in Chlamydomonas and Plasmodium gametes

Yanjie Liu, Rita Tewari, Jue Ning, Andrew M. Blagborough, Sara Garbom, Jimin Pei, Nick V. Grishin, Robert E. Steele, Robert E. Sinden, William J. Snell, Oliver Billker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

168 Scopus citations

Abstract

The cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie species-specific membrane fusion between male and female gametes remain largely unknown. Here, by use of gene discovery methods in the green alga Chlamydomonas, gene disruption in the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei, and distinctive features of fertilization in both organisms, we report discovery of a mechanism that accounts for a conserved protein required for gamete fusion. A screen for fusion mutants in Chlamydomonas identified a homolog of HAP2, an Arabidopsis sterility gene. Moreover, HAP2 disruption in Plasmodium blocked fertilization and thereby mosquito transmission of malaria. HAP2 localizes at the fusion site of Chlamydomonas minus gametes, yet Chlamydomonas minus and Plasmodium hap2 male gametes retain the ability, using other, species-limited proteins, to form tight prefusion membrane attachments with their respective gamete partners. Membrane dye experiments show that HAP2 is essential for membrane merger. Thus, in two distantly related eukaryotes, species-limited proteins govern access to a conserved protein essential for membrane fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1068
Number of pages18
JournalGenes and Development
Volume22
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2008

Keywords

  • Cell-cell fusion
  • Chlamydomonas, Plasmodium
  • Gamete fusion
  • HAP2
  • Malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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    Liu, Y., Tewari, R., Ning, J., Blagborough, A. M., Garbom, S., Pei, J., Grishin, N. V., Steele, R. E., Sinden, R. E., Snell, W. J., & Billker, O. (2008). The conserved plant sterility gene HAP2 functions after attachment of fusogenic membranes in Chlamydomonas and Plasmodium gametes. Genes and Development, 22(8), 1051-1068. https://doi.org/10.1101/gad.1656508