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Real-time dynamics of Plasmodium NDC80 reveals unusual modes of chromosome segregation during parasite proliferation

Zeeshan, Mohammad; Pandey, Rajan; Ferguson, David J. P.; Tromer, Eelco C.; Markus, Robert; Abel, Steven; Brady, Declan; Daniel, Emilie; Limenitakis, Rebecca; Bottrill, Andrew R; Le Roch, Karine G; Holder, Anthony A; Waller, Ross F; Guttery, David S; Tewari, Rita


Rajan Pandey

David J. P. Ferguson

Eelco C. Tromer

Robert Markus

Steven Abel

Declan Brady

Emilie Daniel

Rebecca Limenitakis

Andrew R Bottrill

Karine G Le Roch

Anthony A Holder

Ross F Waller

David S Guttery

Professor of Parasite Cell Biology


Eukaryotic cell proliferation requires chromosome replication and precise segregation to ensure daughter cells have identical genomic copies. The genus Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria, displays remarkable aspects of nuclear division throughout its lifecycle to meet some peculiar and unique challenges of DNA replication and chromosome segregation. The parasite undergoes atypical endomitosis and endoreduplication with an intact nuclear membrane and intranuclear mitotic spindle. To understand these diverse modes of Plasmodium cell division, we have studied the behaviour and composition of the outer kinetochore NDC80 complex, a key part of the mitotic apparatus that attaches the centromere of chromosomes to microtubules of the mitotic spindle. Using NDC80-GFP live-cell imaging in Plasmodium berghei we observe dynamic spatiotemporal changes during proliferation, including highly unusual kinetochore arrangements during sexual stages. We identify a very divergent candidate for the SPC24 subunit of the NDC80 complex, previously thought to be missing in Plasmodium, which completes a canonical, albeit unusual, NDC80 complex structure. Altogether, our studies reveal the kinetochore as an ideal tool to investigate the non-canonical modes of chromosome segregation and cell division in Plasmodium.


Zeeshan, M., Pandey, R., Ferguson, D. J. P., Tromer, E. C., Markus, R., Abel, S., …Tewari, R. (2020). Real-time dynamics of Plasmodium NDC80 reveals unusual modes of chromosome segregation during parasite proliferation. Journal of Cell Science, 134(5), Article jcs.245753.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2020
Online Publication Date May 22, 2020
Publication Date Jun 30, 2020
Deposit Date May 6, 2020
Publicly Available Date May 23, 2021
Journal Journal of Cell Science
Print ISSN 0021-9533
Electronic ISSN 1477-9137
Publisher Company of Biologists
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 134
Issue 5
Article Number jcs.245753
Keywords Malaria, Plasmodium, Kinetochore, NDC80 complex, Chromosome segregation, Atypical cell division, Endomitosis, Meiosis
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