Toxoplasma gondii sequesters centromeres to a specific nuclear region throughout the cell cycle

Carrie F. Brooks, Maria E. Francia, Mathieu Gissot, Matthew M. Croken, Kami Kim, Boris Striepen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Members of the eukaryotic phylum Apicomplexa are the cause of important human diseases including malaria, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis. These obligate intracellular parasites produce new invasive stages through a complex budding process. The budding cycle is remarkably flexible and can produce varied numbers of progeny to adapt to different host-cell niches. How this complex process is coordinated remains poorly understood. Using Toxoplasma gondii as a genetic model, we show that a key element to this coordination is the centrocone, a unique elaboration of the nuclear envelope that houses the mitotic spindle. Exploiting transgenic parasite lines expressing epitope-tagged centromeric H3 variant CenH3, we identify the centromeres of T. gondii chromosomes by hybridization of chromatin immunoprecipitations to genome-wide microarrays (ChIP-chip). We demonstrate that centromere attachment to the centrocone persists throughout the parasite cell cycle and that centromeres localize to a single apical region within the nucleus. Centromere sequestration provides a mechanism for the organization of the Toxoplasma nucleus and the maintenance of genome integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3767-3772
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Histone
  • Mitosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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