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Flagellum couples cell shape to motility in Trypanosoma brucei [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

Trypanosoma brucei is a highly invasive pathogen capable of penetrating deeply into host tissues. To understand how flagellar motility facilitates cell penetration, we used cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) to visualize two genetically anucleate mutants with different flagellar motility behaviors. We found that the T. brucei cell body is highly deformable as defined by changes in cytoskeletal twist and spacing, in response to flagellar beating and environmental conditions. Based on the cryo-ET models, we proposed a mechanism of how flagellum motility is coupled to cell shape changes, which may facilitate penetration through size-limiting barriers.

Authors:   Stella Y. Sun; Jason T. Kaelber; Muyuan Chen; Xiaoduo Dong; Yasaman Nematbakhsh; Jian Shi; Matthew Dougherty; Chwee Teck Lim; Michael F. Schmid; Wah Chiu; Cynthia Y. He
Journal:   Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences current issue
Volume:   115
edition:   26
Year:   2018
Pages:   E5916
DOI:   10.1073/pnas.1722618115
Publication date:   26-Jun-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • Trypanosoma brucei
  • electron tomography
  • computational biology
More about Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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