An orphan kinesin in trypanosomes cooperates with a kinetoplastid-specific kinesin to maintain cell morphology by regulating subpellicular microtubules.

Academic Article


  • Microtubules are a vital part of the cytoskeleton of eukaryotic cells and are involved in various cellular processes. The cytoskeleton of Trypanosoma brucei is characterized by an array of subpellicular microtubules and is essential for maintenance of cell shape and polarity, but little is known about the regulation of the assembly and organization of the subpellicular microtubule corset. Here, we report that the orphan kinesin TbKIN-D regulates the organization of subpellicular microtubules and is required for maintaining cell morphology. TbKIN-D possesses in vitro ATPase activity, associates with cytoskeletal microtubules and is distributed throughout the cytoskeleton at all cell cycle stages. RNAi of TbKIN-D disrupts the organization of the subpellicular microtubule corset and distorts cell morphology, resulting in round cells with an elongated posterior filled with newly assembled microtubules. Depletion of TbKIN-D also abolishes the segregation of organelles and cytoskeletal structures, suggesting that cellular morphogenesis is essential for proper organelle segregation. Moreover, TbKIN-D deficiency impairs the attachment of the new flagellum without compromising the formation of the flagellum attachment zone. Finally, we identified TbKIN-C, a kinetoplastid-specific kinesin known to regulate subpellicular microtubules and cell morphogenesis in T. brucei, as a partner of TbKIN-D. Further, we demonstrate that interaction between TbKIN-C and TbKIN-D requires the coiled-coil motifs in the C-termini of both proteins. Altogether, our results suggest that TbKIN-D cooperates with TbKIN-C to maintain cell morphology by regulating the organization of the subpellicular microtubule corset.
  • Authors

  • Hu, Huiqing
  • Hu, Liu
  • Yu, Zhonglian
  • Chasse, Amanda E
  • Chu, Feixia
  • Li, Ziyin
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • September 1, 2012
  • Published In


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Shape
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Flagella
  • Kinesins
  • Microtubules
  • Mitochondria
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Negative Staining
  • Organ Specificity
  • Protein Binding
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • RNA Interference
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei
  • Tubulin
  • Tyrosine
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 4126
  • End Page

  • 4136
  • Volume

  • 125
  • Issue

  • Pt 17