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Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:893272. doi: 10.1155/2014/893272. Epub 2014 Mar 30.

Tracking the biogenesis and inheritance of subpellicular microtubule in Trypanosoma brucei with inducible YFP-α-tubulin.

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Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543.
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117543 ; Centre for BioImaging Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117546.


The microtubule cytoskeleton forms the most prominent structural system in Trypanosoma brucei, undergoing extensive modifications during the cell cycle. Visualization of tyrosinated microtubules leads to a semiconservative mode of inheritance, whereas recent studies employing microtubule plus end tracking proteins have hinted at an asymmetric pattern of cytoskeletal inheritance. To further the knowledge of microtubule synthesis and inheritance during T. brucei cell cycle, the dynamics of the microtubule cytoskeleton was visualized by inducible YFP-α-tubulin expression. During new flagellum/flagellum attachment zone (FAZ) biogenesis and cell growth, YFP-α-tubulin was incorporated mainly between the old and new flagellum/FAZ complexes. Cytoskeletal modifications at the posterior end of the cells were observed with EB1, a microtubule plus end binding protein, particularly during mitosis. Additionally, the newly formed microtubules segregated asymmetrically, with the daughter cell inheriting the new flagellum/FAZ complex retaining most of the new microtubules. Together, our results suggest an intimate connection between new microtubule formation and new FAZ assembly, consequently leading to asymmetric microtubule inheritance and cell division.

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