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Lara Hoepfner (Münster University)

Flagella mediated adhesion of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii to a solid surface. Taking advantage of TIRF microscopy both dynamics can be imaged and analyzed (down). Graphic: Lara Hoepfner

Lara Hoepfner's Master thesis was awarded with the Prize for the Best Plant Science Master Thesis, which was carried out at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster in the year 2020.

Title: Function of protein N-glycosylation in flagella mediated cell gliding

Altered N-glycan maturation of flagella membrane proteins impacts adhesion to solid surfaces however does not impede the cells gliding ability.

The biflagellate Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a well-known model organism in research on cilia and flagella. Via their two flagella, cells are able to adhere to and glide along solid surfaces thanks to N-glycosylated membrane proteins such as flagella membrane glycoprotein FMG1-B.

Taking advantage of mass spectrometry and TIRF microscopy mutants with altered N-glycosylation were analyzed regarding changes in their flagella proteome as well as their ability to adhere and glide. Further the particular role of FMG1-B in respective dynamics was examined by characterization of two FMG1-B knock down mutants.

Altered N-glycosylation decreases the adhesion force of flagella to a surface, however, this has no impact on flagella protein targeting or the ability to glide. Further it could be shown that FMG1-B is not the only N-glycosylated protein involved in flagella membrane adhesion and gliding in contrast to the current model.

In future further N-glycosylation mutants will be analyzed regarding their ability to adhere and glide and the role of further candidate proteins involved in adhesion and gliding besides or instead of FMG1-B will be analyzed.


Lara Hoepfner conducted this work at the institute for plant biochemistry and biotechnology in the working group of Prof. Dr. Michael Hippler.