Evolution of protein trafficking in kinetoplastid parasites: complexity and pathogenesis

Divya Venkatesh, Ning Zhang, Martin Zoltner, Ricardo Canavate Del Pino, Mark C. Field (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)


The kinetoplastida and their close relatives are unicellular organisms prevalent within the eukaryotic biosphere and important for significant impacts on global health, economy and ecosystems. They are, under most models, an early branching lineage. Individual species adapted to highly diverse environments by adopting complex life styles; parasitic species can infect a wide range of eukaryotic hosts, while many relatives are free-living and some autotrophic from acquiring a plastid for photosynthesis. Adaptation is especially evident in the evolution of kinetoplastid cell surface architecture and is supported by endomembrane trafficking and serves as a platform for interaction with environment. Here we summarize and discuss recent genomic and experimental studies of the protein trafficking system in kinetoplastids, with focus on the composition and function of the surface as well as mechanisms for constructing, maintaining and regulating the cell surface proteome. We hope this provides a broad view of how protein trafficking contributes to the intricate and dynamic host-parasite interfaces that are critical for successful environmental adaptation of this highly important lineage. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)803-812
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Early online date4 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Endomembrane system
  • evolution
  • trypanosomes
  • kinetoplastida
  • parasitism
  • plasma membrane
  • endocytosis
  • pathogenesis
  • drug mode of action
  • endomembrane system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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