Cell division in apicomplexan parasites is organized by a homolog of the striated rootlet fiber of algal flagella

Francia, M.E., Jordan, C.N., Patel, J.D., Sheiner, L. , Demerly, J.L., Fellows, J.D., de Leon, J.C., Morrissette, N.S., Dubremetz, J.-F. and Striepen, B. (2012) Cell division in apicomplexan parasites is organized by a homolog of the striated rootlet fiber of algal flagella. PLoS Biology, 10(12), e1001444. (doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001444) (PMID:23239939)

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Abstract

Apicomplexa are intracellular parasites that cause important human diseases including malaria and toxoplasmosis. During host cell infection new parasites are formed through a budding process that parcels out nuclei and organelles into multiple daughters. Budding is remarkably flexible in output and can produce two to thousands of progeny cells. How genomes and daughters are counted and coordinated is unknown. Apicomplexa evolved from single celled flagellated algae, but with the exception of the gametes, lack flagella. Here we demonstrate that a structure that in the algal ancestor served as the rootlet of the flagellar basal bodies is required for parasite cell division. Parasite striated fiber assemblins (SFA) polymerize into a dynamic fiber that emerges from the centrosomes immediately after their duplication. The fiber grows in a polarized fashion and daughter cells form at its distal tip. As the daughter cell is further elaborated it remains physically tethered at its apical end, the conoid and polar ring. Genetic experiments in Toxoplasma gondii demonstrate two essential components of the fiber, TgSFA2 and 3. In the absence of either of these proteins cytokinesis is blocked at its earliest point, the initiation of the daughter microtubule organizing center (MTOC). Mitosis remains unimpeded and mutant cells accumulate numerous nuclei but fail to form daughter cells. The SFA fiber provides a robust spatial and temporal organizer of parasite cell division, a process that appears hard-wired to the centrosome by multiple tethers. Our findings have broader evolutionary implications. We propose that Apicomplexa abandoned flagella for most stages yet retained the organizing principle of the flagellar MTOC. Instead of ensuring appropriate numbers of flagella, the system now positions the apical invasion complexes. This suggests that elements of the invasion apparatus may be derived from flagella or flagellum associated structures.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sheiner, Dr Lilach
Authors: Francia, M.E., Jordan, C.N., Patel, J.D., Sheiner, L., Demerly, J.L., Fellows, J.D., de Leon, J.C., Morrissette, N.S., Dubremetz, J.-F., and Striepen, B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:PLoS Biology
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1544-9173
ISSN (Online):1545-7885
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2012 The Authors
First Published:First published in PLoS Biology 10(12):e1001444
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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