Ablation of an ovarian tumor family deubiquitinase exposes the underlying regulation governing the plasticity of cell cycle progression in toxoplasma gondii

Animesh Dhara, Rodrigo De Paula Baptist, Jessica C. Kissinger, E. Charles Snow, Anthony P. Sinai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Toxoplasma genome encodes the capacity for distinct architectures underlying cell cycle progression in a life cycle stage-dependent manner. Replication in intermediate hosts occurs by endodyogeny, whereas a hybrid of schizogony and endopolygeny occurs in the gut of the definitive feline host. Here, we characterize the consequence of the loss of a cell cycle-regulated ovarian tumor (OTU family) deubiquitinase, OTUD3A of Toxoplasma gondii (TgOTUD3A; TGGT1_258780), in T. gondii tachyzoites. Rather than the mutation being detrimental, mutant parasites exhibited a fitness advantage, outcompeting the wild type. This phenotype was due to roughly one-third of TgOTUD3A-knockout (TgOTUD3A-KO) tachyzoites exhibiting deviations from endodyogeny by employing replication strategies that produced 3, 4, or 5 viable progeny within a gravid mother instead of the usual 2. We established the mechanistic basis underlying these altered replication strategies to be a dysregulation of centrosome duplication, causing a transient loss of stoichiometry between the inner and outer cores that resulted in a failure to terminate S phase at the attainment of 2N ploidy and/or the decoupling of mitosis and cytokinesis. The resulting dysregulation manifested as deviations in the normal transitions from S phase to mitosis (S/M) (endopolygeny-like) or M phase to cytokinesis (M/C) (schizogony-like). Notably, these imbalances are corrected prior to cytokinesis, resulting in the generation of normal progeny. Our findings suggest that decisions regarding the utilization of specific cell cycle architectures are controlled by a ubiquitin-mediated mechanism that is dependent on the absolute threshold levels of an as-yet-unknown target(s). Analysis of the TgOTUD3A-KO mutant provides new insights into mechanisms underlying the plasticity of apicomplexan cell cycle architecture. IMPORTANCE Replication by Toxoplasma gondii can occur by 3 distinct cell cycle architectures. Endodyogeny is used by asexual stages, while a hybrid of schizogony and endopolygeny is used by merozoites in the definitive feline host. Here, we establish that the disruption of an ovarian-tumor (OTU) family deubiquitinase, TgOTUD3A, in tachyzoites results in dysregulation of the mechanism controlling the selection of replication strategy in a subset of parasites. The mechanistic basis for these altered cell cycles lies in the unique biology of the bipartite centrosome that is associated with the transient loss of stoichiometry between the inner and outer centrosome cores in the TgOTUD3A-KO mutant. This highlights the importance of ubiquitin-mediated regulation in the transition from the nuclear to the budding phases of the cell cycle and provides new mechanistic insights into the regulation of the organization of the apicomplexan cell cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere01846-17
JournalmBio
Volume8
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • Apicomplexan parasites
  • Cell cycle
  • Centrosomes
  • Deubiquitinase
  • Toxoplasma gondii

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology

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