Evolution of the endomembrane systems of trypanosomatids: conservation and specialisation

Divya Venkatesh, Cordula Boehm, Lael D. Barlow, Nerissa N. Nankissoor, Amanda O'Reilly, Steven Kelly, Joel B. Dacks, Mark C. Field (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
267 Downloads (Pure)


Parasite surfaces support multiple functions required for survival within their hosts, and maintenance and functionality of the surface depends on membrane trafficking. To
understand the evolutionary history of trypanosomatid trafficking, where multiple lifestyles and mechanisms of host interactions are known, we examined protein families central to defining intracellular compartments and mediating transport, i.e. Rabs, SNAREs and RabGAPs across all available Euglenid genomes. Bodonids possess a large trafficking repertoire, mainly retained by the cruzi group, with extensive losses in other lineages, particularly African trypanosomes and phytomonads. There are no large-scale expansions or contractions from an inferred ancestor, excluding direct associations between parasitism or host range. However, we observe stepwise secondary losses within Rab and SNARE cohorts (but not RabGAPs). Major changes are associated with endosomal and late exocytic pathways, consistent with the diversity in surface proteomes between trypanosomatids and mechanisms of interaction with the host. Along with the conserved core family proteins, several lineage-specific members of the Rab (but not SNARE) family were found.
Significantly, testing predictions of SNARE complex composition by proteomics confirms generalised retention of function across eukaryotes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1421-1434
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number8
Early online date6 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2017


  • Rab
  • trafficking
  • molecular evolution
  • TBC domain
  • Trypanosoma
  • proteomics


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of the endomembrane systems of trypanosomatids: conservation and specialisation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this