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A unique dynamin-related protein is essential for mitochondrial fission in Toxoplasma gondii.

Melatti, Carmen and Pieperhoff, Manuela and Lemgruber, Leandro and Pohl, Ehmke and Sheiner, Lilach and Meissner, Markus (2019) 'A unique dynamin-related protein is essential for mitochondrial fission in Toxoplasma gondii.', PLoS pathogens., 15 (4). e1007512.

Abstract

The single mitochondrion of apicomplexan protozoa is thought to be critical for all stages of the life cycle, and is a validated drug target against these important human and veterinary parasites. In contrast to other eukaryotes, replication of the mitochondrion is tightly linked to the cell cycle. A key step in mitochondrial segregation is the fission event, which in many eukaryotes occurs by the action of dynamins constricting the outer membrane of the mitochondria from the cytosolic face. To date, none of the components of the apicomplexan fission machinery have been identified and validated. We identify here a highly divergent, dynamin-related protein (TgDrpC), conserved in apicomplexans as essential for mitochondrial biogenesis and potentially for fission in Toxoplasma gondii. We show that TgDrpC is found adjacent to the mitochondrion, and is localised both at its periphery and at its basal part, where fission is expected to occur. We demonstrate that depletion or dominant negative expression of TgDrpC results in interconnected mitochondria and ultimately in drastic changes in mitochondrial morphology, as well as in parasite death. Intriguingly, we find that the canonical adaptor TgFis1 is not required for mitochondrial fission. The identification of an Apicomplexa-specific enzyme required for mitochondrial biogenesis and essential for parasite growth highlights parasite adaptation. This work paves the way for future drug development targeting TgDrpC, and for the analysis of additional partners involved in this crucial step of apicomplexan multiplication.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1007512
Publisher statement:© 2019 Melatti et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:10 December 2018
Date deposited:10 April 2019
Date of first online publication:04 April 2019
Date first made open access:10 April 2019

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