The Cytoskeleton of Parabasalian Parasites Comprises Proteins that Share Properties Common to Intermediate Filament Proteins

Harald Preisner, Eli Levy Karin, Gereon Poschmann, Kai Stühler, Tal Pupko, Sven B. Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Certain protist lineages bear cytoskeletal structures that are germane to them and define their individual group. Trichomonadida are excavate parasites united by a unique cytoskeletal framework, which includes tubulin-based structures such as the pelta and axostyle, but also other filaments such as the striated costa whose protein composition remains unknown. We determined the proteome of the detergent-resistant cytoskeleton of Tetratrichomonas gallinarum. 203 proteins with homology to Trichomonas vaginalis were identified, which contain significantly more long coiled-coil regions than control protein sets. Five candidates were shown to associate with previously described cytoskeletal structures including the costa and the expression of a single T. vaginalis protein in T. gallinarum induced the formation of accumulated, striated filaments. Our data suggests that filament-forming proteins of protists other than actin and tubulin share common structural properties with metazoan intermediate filament proteins, while not being homologous. These filament-forming proteins might have evolved many times independently in eukaryotes, or simultaneously in a common ancestor but with different evolutionary trajectories downstream in different phyla. The broad variety of filament-forming proteins uncovered, and with no homologs outside of the Trichomonadida, once more highlights the diverse nature of eukaryotic proteins with the ability to form unique cytoskeletal filaments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-543
Number of pages18
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Trichomonadida
  • Trichomonas vaginalis.
  • coiled-coils
  • convergent evolution
  • intermediate filament proteins

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Cytoskeleton of Parabasalian Parasites Comprises Proteins that Share Properties Common to Intermediate Filament Proteins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this