Journal Article

Role for the flagellum attachment zone in Leishmania anterior cell tip morphogenesis


The shape and form of the flagellated eukaryotic parasite Leishmania is sculpted to its ecological niches and needs to be transmitted to each generation with great fidelity. The shape of the Leishmania cell is defined by the sub-pellicular microtubule array and the positioning of the nucleus, kinetoplast and the flagellum within this array. The flagellum emerges from the anterior end of the cell body through an invagination of the cell body membrane called the flagellar pocket. Within the flagellar pocket the flagellum is laterally attached to the side of the flagellar pocket by a cytoskeletal structure called the flagellum attachment zone (FAZ). During the cell cycle single copy organelles duplicate with a new flagellum assembling alongside the old flagellum. These are then segregated between the two daughter cells by cytokinesis, which initiates at the anterior cell tip. Here, we have investigated the role of the FAZ in the morphogenesis of the anterior cell tip. We have deleted the FAZ filament protein, FAZ2 and investigated its function using light and electron microscopy and infection studies. The loss of FAZ2 caused a disruption to the membrane organisation at the anterior cell tip, resulting in cells that were connected to each other by a membranous bridge structure between their flagella. Moreover, the FAZ2 null mutant was unable to develop and proliferate in sand flies and had a reduced parasite burden in mice. Our study provides a deeper understanding of membrane-cytoskeletal interactions that define the shape and form of an individual cell and the remodelling of that form during cell division.

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Halliday, Clare
Yanase Ryuji
Catta-Preta, Carolina M.C.
Moreira-Leite, Flavia
Myskova, Jitka
Pruzinova, Katerina
Volf, Petr
Mottram, Jeremy C.
Sunter, Jack D.

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Biological and Medical Sciences


Year of publication: 2020
Date of RADAR deposit: 2020-10-16

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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