Royal Society Publishing

The Cell Division Cycle of Trypanosoma brucei brucei: Timing of Event Markers and Cytoskeletal Modulations

T. Sherwin , K. Gull


We have analysed the timing and order of events occurring within the cell division cycle of Trypanosoma brucei. Cells in the earliest stages of the cell cycle possess a single copy of three major organelles: the nucleus, the kinetoplast and the flagellum. The first indication of progress through the cell cycle is the elongation of the pro-basal body lying adjacent to the mature basal body subtending the flagellum. This newly elongated basal body occupies a posterior position within the cell when it initiates growth of the new daughter flagellum. Genesis of two new pro-basal bodies occurs only after growth of the new daughter flagellum has been initiated. Extension of the new flagellum, together with the paraflagellar rod, then continues throughout a major portion of the cell cycle. During this period of flagellum elongation, kinetoplast division occurs and the two kinetoplasts, together with the two flagellar basal bodies, then move apart within the cell. Mitosis is then initiated and a complex pattern of organelle positions is achieved whereby a division plane runs longitudinally through the cell such that each daughter ultimately receives a single nucleus, kinetoplast and flagellum. These events have been described from observations of whole cytoskeletons by transmission electron microscopy together with detection of particular organelles by fluorescence microscopy. The order and timing of events within the cell cycle has been derived from analyses of the proportion of a given cell type occurring witin an exponentially growing culture.

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