Journal of Cell Science
The SUN-like protein TgSLP1 is essential for nuclear division in the apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii
Mirjam Wagner, Yuan Song, Elena Jiménez-Ruiz, Sonja Härtle, Markus Meissner
Replication, SUN protein, LINC, Parasite, Toxoplasma, nucleus
Connections between the nucleus and the cytoskeleton are important for positioning and division of the nucleus. In most eukaryotes, the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex spans the outer and inner nuclear membranes and connects the nucleus to the cytoskeleton. In opisthokonts, it is composed of Klarsicht, ANC-1 and Syne homology (KASH) domain proteins and Sad1 and UNC-84 (SUN) domain proteins. Given that the nucleus is positioned at the posterior pole of Toxoplasma gondii, we speculated that apicomplexan parasites must have a similar mechanism that integrates the nucleus and the cytoskeleton. Here, we identified three UNC family proteins in the genome of the apicomplexan parasite T. gondii. Whereas the UNC-50 protein TgUNC1 localised to the Golgi and appeared to be not essential for the parasite, the SUN domain protein TgSLP2 showed a diffuse pattern throughout the parasite. The second SUN domain protein, TgSLP1, was expressed in a cell cycle-dependent manner and was localised close to the mitotic spindle and, more detailed, at the kinetochore. We demonstrate that conditional knockout of TgSLP1 leads to failure of nuclear division and loss of centrocone integrity.