The outer dynein arm-docking complex (ODA-DC), which was first identified in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, is a protein complex that mediates the binding of axonemal dynein and doublet microtubules. To gain a better understanding of the evolutionary conservation and functional diversity of the ODA-DC, we knocked down a homolog of DC2, a major subunit of the ODA-DC, in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. Planaria are carnivorous flatworms that move by beating cilia on their ventral surface against a secreted mucus layer. These organisms have recently been used for cilia research because knockdown of flatworm genes by RNA interference (RNAi) is readily achieved through feeding with double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Lack of DC2 in S. mediterranea caused several defects in cilia, including low beat frequency, decreased ciliary density, and a reduction in ciliary length. The loss of DC2 function C. reinhardtii mutant oda1 shows slow jerky swimming, but has two flagella of almost normal length. These data suggest that the function of a DC2 homolog in S. mediterranea cilia may be somewhat different from DC2 in C. reinhardtii flagella.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1