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The flagella connector (FC) of procyclic trypanosomes is a mobile, transmembrane junction important in providing cytotactic morphogenetic information to the daughter cell. Quantitative analyses of FC positioning along the old flagellum, involving direct observations and use of the MPM2 anti-phosphoprotein monoclonal reveals a ;stop point' is reached on the old flagellum which correlates well with the initiation of basal body migration and kinetoplast segregation. This demonstrates further complexities of the FC and its movement in morphogenetic events in trypanosomes than have hitherto been described. We used intraflagellar transport RNAi mutants to ablate the formation of a new flagellum. Intriguingly the FC could still move, indicating that a motor function beyond the new flagellum is sufficient to move it. When such a FC moves, it drags a sleeve of new flagellar membrane out of the flagellar pocket. This axoneme-less flagellar membrane maintains appropriate developmental relationships to the cell body including following the correct helical path and being connected to the internal cytoskeleton by macula adherens junctions. Movement of the FC in the apparent absence of intraflagellar transport raises the possibility of a new form of motility within a eukaryotic flagellum.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date





3935 - 3943


Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Cell Membrane, Cell Movement, Cells, Cultured, Cytokinesis, Flagella, Models, Biological, Motor Activity, Phosphoproteins, Trypanosoma brucei brucei