Identification of the roles played by NIMA-related kinases in flagellar, microtubule, and cell cycle regulation and signalling in Chlamydomonas

NIMA-related kinases are a diverse family of proteins found in virtually all eukaryotic cells. Single-celled eukaryotes, such as yeast, have a single NIMA family member that helps regulate cell division. A recent discovery that Chlamydomonas, a single-celled green algae, has at least seven family members strikingly contrasts with other unicellular organisms. What sets Chlamydomonas apart from the other unicellular eukaryotes studied to date is the presence of cilia. Mutations in some NIMA kinsases can produce kidney cysts, as do mutations in the proteins essential for assembling cilia, short, hair-like structures that protrude from cell walls and sweep mucus up and out of lungs. In earlier research, Brian Bradley helped identify six new genes in Chlamydomonas. These algae are found all over the world, and are often used for research in cell and molecular biology. Now Brian is using the algae to study the assembly and function of cilia. Brian’s research could help explain the role of NIMA-related kinases in development of kidney disease.