Toxoplasma ISP4 is a central IMC sub-compartment protein whose localization depends on palmitoylation but not myristoylation.
ABSTRACT Apicomplexan parasites utilize a peripheral membrane system called the inner membrane complex (IMC) to facilitate host cell invasion and parasite replication. We recently identified a novel family of Toxoplasma IMC Sub-compartment Proteins (ISP1/2/3) that localize to sub-domains of the IMC using a targeting mechanism that is dependent on coordinated myristoylation and palmitoylation of a series of residues in the N-terminus of the protein. While the precise functions of the ISPs are unknown, deletion of ISP2 results in replication defects, suggesting that this family of proteins plays a role in daughter cell formation. Here we have characterized a fourth ISP family member (ISP4) and discovered that this protein localizes to the central IMC sub-compartment, similar to ISP2. Like ISP1/3, ISP4 is dispensable for the tachyzoite lytic cycle as the disruption of ISP4 does not produce any gross replication or growth defects. Surprisingly, targeting of ISP4 to the IMC membranes is dependent on residues predicted for palmitoylation but not myristoylation, setting its trafficking apart from the other ISP proteins and demonstrating distinct mechanisms of protein localization to the IMC membranes, even within a family of highly related proteins.
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ABSTRACT: The apical complex is the definitive cell structure of phylum Apicomplexa, and is the focus of the events of host cell penetration and the establishment of intracellular parasitism. Despite the importance of this structure, its molecular composition is relatively poorly known and few studies have experimentally tested its functions. We have characterized a novel Toxoplasma gondii protein, RNG2, that is located at the apical polar ring-the common structural element of apical complexes. During cell division, RNG2 is first recruited to centrosomes immediately after their duplication, confirming that assembly of the new apical complex commences as one of the earliest events of cell replication. RNG2 subsequently forms a ring, with the carboxy- and amino-termini anchored to the apical polar ring and mobile conoid, respectively, linking these two structures. Super-resolution microscopy resolves these two termini, and reveals that RNG2 orientation flips during invasion when the conoid is extruded. Inducible knockdown of RNG2 strongly inhibits host cell invasion. Consistent with this, secretion of micronemes is prevented in the absence of RNG2. This block, however, can be fully or partially overcome by exogenous stimulation of calcium or cGMP signaling pathways, respectively, implicating the apical complex directly in these signaling events. RNG2 demonstrates for the first time a role for the apical complex in controlling secretion of invasion factors in this important group of parasites.PLoS Pathogens 04/2014; 10(4):e1004074. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium falciparum are important human pathogens. These parasites and many of their apicomplexan relatives undergo a complex developmental process in the cells of their hosts, which includes genome replication, cell division and the assembly of new invasive stages. Apicomplexan cell cycle progression is both globally and locally regulated. Global regulation is carried out throughout the cytoplasm by diffusible factors that include cell cycle-specific kinases, cyclins and transcription factors. Local regulation acts on individual nuclei and daughter cells that are developing inside the mother cell. We propose that the centrosome is a master regulator that physically tethers cellular components and that provides spatial and temporal control of apicomplexan cell division.Nature Reviews Microbiology 01/2014; · 22.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Plasmodium spp and Toxoplasma gondii are important human and veterinary pathogens. These parasites possess an unusual double membrane structure located directly below the plasma membrane named the inner membrane complex (IMC). First identified in early electron micrograph studies, huge advances in genetic manipulation of the Apicomplexa have allowed the visualisation of a dynamic, highly structured cellular compartment with important roles in maintaining the structure and motility of these parasites. This review summarises recent advances in the field and highlights the changes the IMC undergoes during the complex life cycles of the Apicomplexa.Cellular Microbiology 02/2014; · 4.81 Impact Factor