A single master regulator controls asexual cell cycle division patterns in Toxoplasma gondii

Asma S. Khelifa, Cecilia Sanchez Guillen, Kevin M. Lesage, Ludovic Huot, Pierre Pericard, Nicolas Barois, Helene Touzet, Guillemette Marot, Mathieu Gissot

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Received Date: 14th May 20

All apicomplexan parasites have complex life cycles exhibiting division characterized by a tightly regulated cell cycle control, resulting in the emergence of daughter parasites in possession of a single nucleus and a complete set of organelles. Apicomplexa have evolved efficient and distinctive strategies for intracellular replication where the timing of emergence of the daughter cells, a process termed “budding”, is a decisive element. However, the molecular mechanisms that provide the proper timing of parasite budding remain unknown. Using Toxoplasma gondii as a model Apicomplexa, we identified a master regulator that controls the timing of the budding process. We show that an ApiAP2 transcription factor, TgAP2IX-5, controls cell cycle events downstream of centrosome duplication including organelle division and segregation. TgAP2IX-5 binds to the promoter of hundreds of genes and controls the activation of the budding-specific cell cycle expression program. We show that TgAP2IX-5 regulates the expression of specific transcription factors that are necessary for the completion of the budding cycle. TgAP2IX-5 acts as a licensing factor that ensures that asexual proliferation continues by promoting the inhibition of the differentiation pathway at each round of the cell cycle. Therefore, TgAP2IX-5 is a master regulator that controls both cell cycle and developmental pathways.

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This is an abstract of a preprint hosted on an independent third party site. It has not been peer reviewed but is currently under consideration at Nature Communications.

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