Toxoplasma gondii myosin F, an essential motor for centrosomes positioning and apicoplast inheritance

EMBO J. 2013 Jun 12;32(12):1702-16. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2013.113. Epub 2013 May 21.


Members of the Apicomplexa phylum possess an organelle surrounded by four membranes, originating from the secondary endosymbiosis of a red alga. This so-called apicoplast hosts essential metabolic pathways. We report here that apicoplast inheritance is an actin-based process. Concordantly, parasites depleted in either profilin or actin depolymerizing factor, or parasites overexpressing the FH2 domain of formin 2, result in loss of the apicoplast. The class XXII myosin F (MyoF) is conserved across the phylum and localizes in the vicinity of the Toxoplasma gondii apicoplast during division. Conditional knockdown of TgMyoF severely affects apicoplast turnover, leading to parasite death. This recapitulates the phenotype observed upon perturbation of actin dynamics that led to the accumulation of the apicoplast and secretory organelles in enlarged residual bodies. To further dissect the mode of action of this motor, we conditionally stabilized the tail of MyoF, which forms an inactive heterodimer with endogenous TgMyoF. This dominant negative mutant reveals a central role of this motor in the positioning of the two centrosomes prior to daughter cell formation and in apicoplast segregation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Centrosome / metabolism*
  • Destrin / genetics
  • Destrin / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion
  • Myosins / genetics
  • Myosins / metabolism*
  • Profilins / genetics
  • Profilins / metabolism
  • Protein Multimerization*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / metabolism*
  • Toxoplasma / genetics
  • Toxoplasma / metabolism*


  • Destrin
  • Profilins
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Myosins