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Cells 2015, 4(4), 726-747;

Form, Fabric, and Function of a Flagellum-Associated Cytoskeletal Structure

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Biocenter, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, D-97074, Würzburg, Germany
Academic Editors: Gang Dong and William Tsang
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 27 October 2015 / Accepted: 29 October 2015 / Published: 3 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cilia and Flagella: Biogenesis and Function)
PDF [1763 KB, uploaded 3 November 2015]


Trypanosoma brucei is a uniflagellated protist and the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis, a neglected tropical disease. The single flagellum of T. brucei is essential to a number of cellular processes such as motility, and has been a longstanding focus of scientific enquiry. A number of cytoskeletal structures are associated with the flagellum in T. brucei, and one such structure—a multiprotein complex containing the repeat motif protein TbMORN1—is the focus of this review. The TbMORN1-containing complex, which was discovered less than ten years ago, is essential for the viability of the mammalian-infective form of T. brucei. The complex has an unusual asymmetric morphology, and is coiled around the flagellum to form a hook shape. Proteomic analysis using the proximity-dependent biotin identification (BioID) technique has elucidated a number of its components. Recent work has uncovered a role for TbMORN1 in facilitating protein entry into the cell, thus providing a link between the cytoskeleton and the endomembrane system. This review summarises the extant data on the complex, highlights the outstanding questions for future enquiry, and provides speculation as to its possible role in a size-exclusion mechanism for regulating protein entry. The review additionally clarifies the nomenclature associated with this topic, and proposes the adoption of the term “hook complex” to replace the former name “bilobe” to describe the complex. View Full-Text
Keywords: Trypanosoma brucei; cytoskeleton; TbMORN1; MORN-repeat; BioID Trypanosoma brucei; cytoskeleton; TbMORN1; MORN-repeat; BioID

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Morriswood, B. Form, Fabric, and Function of a Flagellum-Associated Cytoskeletal Structure. Cells 2015, 4, 726-747.

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