Centrins are EF-hand containing proteins ubiquitously found in eukaryotes and are key components of centrioles/basal bodies as well as certain contractile fibers. We previously identified three centrins in the human parasite Toxoplasma gondii, all of which localized to the centrioles. However, one of them, T. gondii (Tg) Centrin2 (CEN2), is also targeted to structures at the apical and basal ends of the parasite, as well as to annuli at the base of the apical cap of the membrane cortex. The role(s) that CEN2 play in these locations were unknown. Here, we report the functional characterization of CEN2 using a conditional knockdown method that combines transcriptional and protein stability control. The knockdown resulted in an ordered loss of CEN2 from its four compartments, due to differences in incorporation kinetics and structural inheritance over successive generations. This was correlated with a major invasion deficiency at early stages of CEN2 knockdown, and replication defects at later stages. These results indicate that CEN2 is incorporated into multiple cytoskeletal structures to serve distinct functions that are required for parasite survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology