Morphological events during the Trypanosoma cruzi cell cycle

Protist. 2007 Apr;158(2):147-57. doi: 10.1016/j.protis.2006.10.002. Epub 2006 Dec 20.


The replication and segregation of organelles producing two identical daughter cells must be precisely controlled during the cell cycle progression of eukaryotes. In kinetoplastid flagellated protozoa, this includes the duplication of the single mitochondrion containing a network of DNA, known as the kinetoplast, and a flagellum that grows from a cytoplasmic basal body through the flagellar pocket compartment before emerging from the cell. Here, we show the morphological events and the timing of these events during the cell cycle of the epimastigote form of Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas' disease. DNA staining, flagellum labeling, bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, and ultra-thin serial sections show that nuclear replication takes 10% of the whole cell cycle time. In the middle of the G2 stage, the new flagellum emerges from the flagellar pocket and grows unattached to the cell body. While the new flagellum is still short, the kinetoplast segregates and mitosis occurs. The new flagellum reaches its final size during cytokinesis when a new cell body is formed. These precisely coordinated cell cycle events conserve the epimastigote morphology with a single nucleus, a single kinetoplast, and a single flagellum status of the interphasic cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • DNA Replication / physiology*
  • DNA, Kinetoplast / analysis
  • DNA, Kinetoplast / genetics
  • Flagella
  • Mitosis*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / cytology*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / physiology


  • DNA, Kinetoplast