The Apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii replicates by endodyogeny, an unusual form of binary fission. We tested the role of TPK2, a homologue of the CDC2 cyclin-dependent kinases, in cell cycle regulation. TPK2 tagged with HA epitope (TPK2-HA-wt) was expressed in mammalian cells as confirmed by Western blot analysis using HA tag and PSTAIRE antibodies. TPK2-HA-wt phosphorylated a peptide from Histone H1, proving that TPK2 is a functional kinase. TPK2-HA-wt coimmunoprecipitated with mammalian cyclins A, B1, D3 and E. Despite being a functional kinase, TPK2 did not rescue Schizosaccharomyces pombe cdc2 and Saccharomyces cerevisiae cdc28 mutant strains. Overexpression of a dominant-negative mutant of TPK2 (TPK2-HA-dn) in T. gondii tachyzoites arrested replication. FACS analysis of tachyzoites expressing TPK2-HA-dn revealed an increase in the fraction of cells in S-phase when compared with TPK2-HA-wt transfected parasites. Expression of TPK2-HA-wt did not arrest tachyzoite replication. No discernable G2 cell cycle block was evident suggesting that cell cycle checkpoints differ in T. gondii from most other eukaryotic cells. These data suggest that TPK2 executes an essential function in T. gondii cell cycle and is likely to be the T. gondii CDC2 orthologue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology