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Adhiambo C, Blisnick T, Toutirais G, Delannoy E, Bastin P. "A novel function for the atypical small G protein Rab-like 5 in the assembly of the trypanosome flagellum." J. Cell. Sci.. 2009;122(Pt 6):834-41. Abstract

The atypical small G protein Rab-like 5 has been shown to traffic in sensory cilia of Caenorhabditis elegans, where it participates in signalling processes but not in cilia construction. In this report, we demonstrate that RABL5 colocalises with intraflagellar transport (IFT) proteins at the basal body and in the flagellum matrix of the protist Trypanosoma brucei. RABL5 fused to GFP exhibits anterograde movement in the flagellum of live trypanosomes, suggesting it could be associated with IFT. Accordingly, RABL5 accumulates in the short flagella of the retrograde IFT140(RNAi) mutant and is restricted to the basal body region in the IFT88(RNAi) anterograde mutant, a behaviour that is identical to other IFT proteins. Strikingly, RNAi silencing reveals an essential role for RABL5 in trypanosome flagellum construction. RNAi knock-down produces a phenotype similar to inactivation of retrograde IFT with formation of short flagella that are filled with a high amount of IFT proteins. These data reveal for the first time a functional difference for a conserved flagellar matrix protein between two different ciliated species and raise questions related to cilia diversity.

Adhiambo C, Forney JD, Asai DJ, LeBowitz JH. "The two cytoplasmic dynein-2 isoforms in Leishmania mexicana perform separate functions." Mol. Biochem. Parasitol.. 2005;143(2):216-25. Abstract

Eukaryotic organisms with cilia or flagella typically express two non-axonemal or "cytoplasmic" dyneins, dynein-1 and dynein-2. Interestingly, we find that Leishmania mexicana is unusual and contains two distinct cytoplasmic dynein-2 heavy chain genes (designated LmxDHC2.1 and LmxDHC2.2) along with a single dynein-1 heavy chain (LmxDHC1). Disruption of LmxDHC2.2 resulted in immotile parasites that had a rounded cell body. Although they assume amastigote morphology, immunoblot analysis of these cells demonstrates protein expression consistent with the promastigote stage. Ultrastructural analysis revealed non-emergent flagella that lacked the paraflagellar rod and an axoneme with deficiencies in several components. We confirmed the absence of paraflagellar rod proteins PFR1 and PFR2. These results show that LmxDHC2.2 is required for flagellar assembly and also participates in the maintenance of promastigote cell shape. In contrast to the results with LmxDHC2.2, we were unable to generate homologous disruptions of LmxDHC2.1. This result suggests that, unlike LmxDHC2.2, LmxDHC2.1 is an essential gene in Leishmania. Together, these findings demonstrate that the two dynein-2 heavy chain isoforms in Leishmania perform distinct functions. The observation that the genomes of Leishmania major, Leishmania infantum and Trypanosoma brucei also contain two dynein-2 isoforms suggests that this unusual aspect of cytoplasmic dynein is a conserved feature of the kinetoplastids.

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