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PloS one

TgICMAP1 is a novel microtubule binding protein in Toxoplasma gondii.


PMID 19823689

Abstract

The microtubule cytoskeleton provides essential structural support for all eukaryotic cells and can be assembled into various higher order structures that perform drastically different functions. Understanding how microtubule-containing assemblies are built in a spatially and temporally controlled manner is therefore fundamental to understanding cell physiology. Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite, contains at least five distinct tubulin-containing structures, the spindle pole, centrioles, cortical microtubules, the conoid, and the intra-conoid microtubules. How these five structurally and functionally distinct sets of tubulin containing structures are constructed and maintained in the same cell is an intriguing problem. Previously, we performed a proteomic analysis of the T. gondii apical complex, a cytoskeletal complex located at the apical end of the parasite that is composed of the conoid, three ring-like structures, and the two short intra-conoid microtubules. Here we report the characterization of one of the proteins identified in that analysis, TgICMAP1. We show that TgICMAP1 is a novel microtubule binding protein that can directly bind to microtubules in vitro and stabilizes microtubules when ectopically expressed in mammalian cells. Interestingly, in T. gondii, TgICMAP1 preferentially binds to the intra-conoid microtubules, providing us the first molecular tool to investigate the intra-conoid microtubule assembly process during daughter construction.

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