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Characterisation of polyglutamylases in trypanosomatids

Abstract : Microtubules are subject to post-translational modifications, which are thought to have crucial roles in the function of complex microtubule-based organelles. Among these, polyglutamylation was relatively recently discovered, and was related to centrosome stability, axonemal maintenance and mobility, and neurite outgrowth. In trypanosomatids, parasitic protozoa where microtubules constitute the essential component of the cytoskeleton, the function of polyglutamylated microtubules is unknown. Here, in order to better understand the role of this conserved but highly divergent post-translational modification, we characterised glutamylation and putative polyglutamylases in these parasites. We showed that microtubules are intensely glutamylated in all stages of the cell cycle, including interphase. Moreover, a cell cycle-dependent gradient of glutamylation was observed along the cell anteroposterior axis, which might be related to active growth of the microtubule 'corset' during the cell cycle. We also identified two putative polyglutamylase proteins (among seven analysed here) which appeared to be clearly and directly involved in microtubule polyglutamylation in in vitro activity assays. Paradoxically, in view of the importance of tubulins and of their extensive glutamylation in these organisms, RNA interference-based knockdown of all these proteins had no effect on cell growth, suggesting either functional redundancy or, more likely, subtle roles such as function modulation or interaction with protein partners.
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Magali Casanova, Frédérique de Monbrison, Juliette van Dijk, Carsten Janke, Michel Pagès, et al.. Characterisation of polyglutamylases in trypanosomatids. International Journal for Parasitology, Elsevier, 2015, 45 (2-3), pp.121-132. ⟨10.1016/j.ijpara.2014.09.005⟩. ⟨hal-02049686⟩

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