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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 2;9(1):e84653. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084653. eCollection 2014.

The 3D structure of the apical complex and association with the flagellar apparatus revealed by serial TEM tomography in Psammosa pacifica, a distant relative of the Apicomplexa.

Author information

1
The Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

The apical complex is one of the defining features of apicomplexan parasites, including the malaria parasite Plasmodium, where it mediates host penetration and invasion. The apical complex is also known in a few related lineages, including several non-parasitic heterotrophs, where it mediates feeding behaviour. The origin of the apical complex is unclear, and one reason for this is that in apicomplexans it exists in only part of the life cycle, and never simultaneously with other major cytoskeletal structures like flagella and basal bodies. Here, we used conventional TEM and serial TEM tomography to reconstruct the three dimensional structure of the apical complex in Psammosa pacifica, a predatory relative of apicomplexans and dinoflagellates that retains the archetype apical complex and the flagellar apparatus simultaneously. The P. pacifica apical complex is associated with the gullet and consists of the pseudoconoid, micronemes, and electron dense vesicles. The pseudoconoid is a convex sheet consisting of eight short microtubules, plus a band made up of microtubules that originate from the flagellar apparatus. The flagellar apparatus consists of three microtubular roots. One of the microtubular roots attached to the posterior basal body is connected to bypassing microtubular strands, which are themselves connected to the extension of the pseudoconoid. These complex connections where the apical complex is an extension of the flagellar apparatus, reflect the ancestral state of both, dating back to the common ancestor of apicaomplexans and dinoflagellates.

PMID:
24392150
PMCID:
PMC3879320
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0084653
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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