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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2011 Apr 29;408(1):71-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2011.03.118. Epub 2011 Mar 30.

Leishmania express a functional Cdc20 homologue.

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  • 1Faculty of Biology, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel.


Our knowledge concerning the mechanisms of cell cycle regulation in organisms belonging to the Trypanosometidae family is limited. Leishmania donovani are parasitic protozoa that cause kala azar, a fatal form of visceral leishmaniasis in humans. Here we provide evidence that the L. donovani genome contains a Cdc20 homologue. Cdc20 is a regulator of the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C) that mediates ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation of key cell cycle regulators in eukaryotes. We show that L. donovani Cdc20 protein (LdCdc20p) can complement a lack of yeast Cdc20 protein in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, validating the functionality of LdCdc20p. Furthermore, we demonstrate cyclic expression of LdCdc20p and that it contains an active RXXL destruction motif, a distinctive feature of proteins targeted for proteasomal degradation by APC/C. Finally, in line with the proteasome mediating LdCdc20p degradation, promastigotes exposed to proteasome inhibitor display elevated LdCdc20p levels. Taken together our data indicate that Leishmania regulate their cell cycle by ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation mediated by the APC/C.

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