Casein kinase TbCK1.2 regulates division of kinetoplast DNA, and movement of basal bodies in the African trypanosome
The single mitochondrial nucleoid (kinetoplast) of Trypanosoma brucei is found proximal to a basal body (mature (mBB)/probasal body (pBB) pair). Kinetoplast inheritance requires synthesis of, and scission of kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) generating two kinetoplasts that segregate with basal bodies into daughter cells. Molecular details of kinetoplast scission and the extent to which basal body separation influences the process are unavailable. To address this topic, we followed basal body movements in bloodstream trypanosomes following depletion of protein kinase TbCK1.2 which promotes kinetoplast division. In control cells we found that pBBs are positioned 0.4 um from mBBs in G1, and they mature after separating from mBBs by at least 0.8 um: mBB separation reaches ~2.2 um. These data indicate that current models of basal body biogenesis in which pBBs mature in close proximity to mBBs may need to be revisited. Knockdown of TbCK1.2 produced trypanosomes containing one kinetoplast and two nuclei (1K2N), increased the percentage of cells with uncleaved kDNA 400%, decreased mBB spacing by 15%, and inhibited cytokinesis 300%. We conclude that (a) separation of mBBs beyond a threshold of 1.8 um correlates with division of kDNA, and (b) TbCK1.2 regulates kDNA scission. We propose a Kinetoplast Division Factor hypothesis that integrates these data into a pathway for biogenesis of two daughter mitochondrial nucleoids.