Naegleria Gruberi De Novo Basal Body Assembly Occurs via Stepwise Incorporation of Conserved Proteins

Eukaryot Cell. 2010 Jun;9(6):860-5. doi: 10.1128/EC.00381-09. Epub 2010 Apr 16.


Centrioles and basal bodies are discrete structures composed of a cylinder of nine microtubule triplets and associated proteins. Metazoan centrioles can be found at mitotic spindle poles and are called basal bodies when used to organize microtubules to form the core structure of flagella. Naegleria gruberi, a unicellular eukaryote, grows as an amoeba that lacks a cytoplasmic microtubule cytoskeleton. When stressed, Naegleria rapidly (and synchronously) differentiates into a flagellate, forming a complete cytoplasmic cytoskeleton de novo, including two basal bodies and flagella. Here, we show that Naegleria has genes encoding conserved centriole proteins. Using novel antibodies, we describe the localization of three centrosomal protein homologs (SAS-6, gamma-tubulin, and centrin-1) during the assembly of the flagellate microtubule cytoskeleton. We also used these antibodies to show that Naegleria expresses the proteins in the same order as their incorporation into basal bodies, with SAS-6 localizing first, followed by centrin and finally gamma-tubulin. The similarities between basal body assembly in Naegleria and centriole assembly in animals indicate that mechanisms of assembly, as well as structure, have been conserved throughout eukaryotic evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Centrioles / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Naegleria / cytology*
  • Naegleria / physiology
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*


  • Protozoan Proteins