As in most eukaryotic cells, replication is regulated by a conserved group of proteins in the early-diverged parasite Trypanosoma brucei. Only a few components of the replication machinery have been described in this parasite and regulation, sub-nuclear localization and timing of replication are not well understood. We characterized the proliferating cell nuclear antigen in T. brucei (TbPCNA) to establish a spatial and temporal marker for replication. Interestingly, PCNA distribution and regulation is different compared to the closely related parasites Trypanosoma cruzi and Leishmania donovani. TbPCNA foci are clearly detectable during S phase of the cell cycle but in contrast to T. cruzi they are not preferentially located at the nuclear periphery. Furthermore, PCNA seems to be degraded when cells enter G2 phase in T. brucei suggesting different modes of replication regulation or functions of PCNA in these closely related eukaryotes.
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