A dynamin-related protein contributes to Trichomonas vaginalis hydrogenosomal fission

Yael Wexler-Cohen, Grant C. Stevens, Eran Barnoy, Alexander M. Van Der Bliek, Patricia J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Trichomonas vaginalis is a highly divergent, unicellular eukaryote of the phylum Metamonada, class Parabasalia, and the source of a common sexually transmitted infection. This parasite lacks mitochondria, but harbors an evolutionarily related organelle, the hydrogenosome. We explored the role of dynaminrelated proteins (DRPs) in the division of the hydrogenosome. Eight DRP homologues [T. vaginalis DRPs (TvDRPs)], which can be grouped into 3 subclasses, are present in T. vaginalis. We examined 5 TvDRPs that are representative of each subclass, by introducing dominant negative mutations analogous to those known to interfere with mitochondrial division in yeast, worms, and mammals. Microscopic and cell fractionation analyses of parasites expressing one of the mutated TvDRPs (TVAG-350040) demonstrated that this protein localizes to hydrogenosomes. Moreover, these organelles were found to be increased in size and reduced in number in cells expressing this dominant negative protein, relative to parasites expressing the corresponding wild-type TvDRP, the other 4 mutant TvDRPs, or an empty vector control. Our data indicate a role for a TvDRP in the fission of T. vaginalis hydrogenosomes, similar to that described for peroxisomes and mitochondria. These findings reveal a conservation of core components involved in the division of diverse eukaryotic organelles across broad phylogenetic distances.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1121
Number of pages9
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Evolution
  • Organelle division
  • Parasitology


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