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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

LdARL-3A, a Leishmania promastigote-specific ADP-ribosylation factor-like protein, is essential for flagellum integrity.

The small G protein-encoding LdARL-3A gene, a homologue of the human ARL-3 gene, was isolated from Leishmania donovani, and its protein product characterised. It is unique in the Leishmania genome and expressed only in the extracellular promastigote insect form, but not in the intracellular amastigote mammalian form, as shown by northern blots and western blots developed with a specific anti-C terminus immune serum. Indirect immunofluorescence microscopy revealed distinct labelled spots regularly distributed on the plasma membrane, including the part lining the flagellum and the flagellar pocket. By transfection experiments, it was found that wild-type LdARL-3A-overexpressing promastigotes reached higher densities in culture, but released significantly less secreted acid phosphatase in the extracellular medium than the parental strain. When LdARL-3A blocked under the GDP-bound 'inactive' form or with an inactivated potential myristoylation site was overexpressed, the cells displayed an apparent wild-type phenotype, but died earlier in the stationary phase; in contrast to parental cells, they showed a diffuse pattern of fluorescence labelling in the cytoplasm and on the cell membrane. Strikingly, when a constitutively 'active' form of LdARL-3A (blocked under the GTP-bound form) was overexpressed, the promastigotes were immobile with a very short flagellum, a slow growth rate and a low level of acid phosphatase secretion; the length of the flagellum was inversely proportional to mutant protein expression. We concluded that LdARL-3A could be an essential gene involved in flagellum biogenesis; it may provide new approaches for control of the parasite at the insect stage.[1]


  1. LdARL-3A, a Leishmania promastigote-specific ADP-ribosylation factor-like protein, is essential for flagellum integrity. Cuvillier, A., Redon, F., Antoine, J.C., Chardin, P., DeVos, T., Merlin, G. J. Cell. Sci. (2000) [Pubmed]
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