Two separate, conserved acidic amino acid domains within the Toxoplasma gondii MIC2 cytoplasmic tail are required for parasite survival

G. Lucas Starnes, Travis J. Jewett, Vern B. Carruthers, L. David Sibley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Apicomplexan parasites rely on actin-based motility to drive host cell invasion. Motility and invasion also require thrombospondin-related anonymous protein (TRAP) adhesins, which are secreted apically and translocated to the posterior end of the parasite before they are shed by the activity of a rhomboid protease. TRAP orthologs, including Toxoplasma gondii MIC2 (microneme protein 2), possess a short cytoplasmic tail, which is essential for motility. Previous studies have shown that aldolase forms a critical bridge between actin filaments and the cytoplasmic domains of MIC2 and TRAP. The cytoplasmic tails of TRAP family members harbor a conserved penultimate tryptophan, which is essential for aldolase binding, and clustered acidic residues. Herein, we determined the role of the conserved acidic residues by using alanine point mutants to investigate aldolase binding in vitro and to test functionality in the parasite. Our studies revealed two separate acidic residue clusters in the cytoplasmic domain of MIC2 that are essential for parasite survival. One region, located at the extreme C terminus, is required for the direct interaction with aldolase, whereas the second upstream acidic region is not necessary for aldolase binding but is nonetheless essential to parasite survival. Both acidic domains are conserved throughout TRAP orthologs, implicating a central role for these motifs in apicomplexan motility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30745-30754
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume281
Issue number41
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 13 2006

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