p166, a link between the trypanosome mitochondrial DNA and flagellum, mediates genome segregation

Zhixing Zhao, Megan E. Lindsay, Arnab Roy Chowdhury, Derrick R. Robinson, Paul T. Englund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Kinetoplast DNA (kDNA), the trypanosome mitochondrial genome, is a giant network containing several thousand interlocked DNA rings. Within the mitochondrion, kDNA is condensed into a disk-shaped structure positioned near the flagellar basal body. The disk is linked to the basal body by a remarkable transmembrane filament system named the tripartite attachment complex (TAC). Following kDNA replication, the TAC mediates network segregation, pulling the progeny networks into the daughter cells by their linkage to the basal bodies. So far TAC has been characterized only morphologically with no known protein components. By screening an RNAi library, we discovered p166, a protein localizing between the kDNA and basal body in intact cells and in isolated flagellum-kDNA complexes. RNAi of p166 has only small effects on kDNA replication, but it causes profound defects in network segregation. For example, kDNA replication without segregation causes the networks to grow to enormous size. Thus, p166 is the first reported molecular component of the TAC, and its discovery will facilitate study of kDNA segregation machinery at the molecular level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Genome segregation
  • Kinetoplast
  • Mitochondrial DNA
  • Tripartite attachment complex
  • Trypanosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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