Plasmodium SAS4: basal body component of male cell which is dispensable for parasite transmission

Life Sci Alliance. 2022 May 12;5(9):e202101329. doi: 10.26508/lsa.202101329. Print 2022 Sep.


The centriole/basal body (CBB) is an evolutionarily conserved organelle acting as a microtubule organising centre (MTOC) to nucleate cilia, flagella, and the centrosome. SAS4/CPAP is a conserved component associated with BB biogenesis in many model flagellated cells. Plasmodium, a divergent unicellular eukaryote and causative agent of malaria, displays an atypical, closed mitosis with an MTOC (or centriolar plaque), reminiscent of an acentriolar MTOC, embedded in the nuclear membrane. Mitosis during male gamete formation is accompanied by flagella formation. There are two MTOCs in male gametocytes: the acentriolar nuclear envelope MTOC for the mitotic spindle and an outer centriolar MTOC (the basal body) that organises flagella assembly in the cytoplasm. We show the coordinated location, association and assembly of SAS4 with the BB component, kinesin-8B, but no association with the kinetochore protein, NDC80, indicating that SAS4 is part of the BB and outer centriolar MTOC in the cytoplasm. Deletion of the SAS4 gene produced no phenotype, indicating that it is not essential for either male gamete formation or parasite transmission.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basal Bodies / metabolism
  • Centrioles / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microtubule-Organizing Center / metabolism
  • Parasites*
  • Plasmodium*