Department of Biological and Medical Sciences



    Research areas:

    Basal body biogenesis in Trypanosomes

    Basal bodies are analogous to centrioles in mammalian cells and are required to build a motile or immotile cilium or flagellum in a wide range of eukaryotic cells. They exist in pairs that are physically connected to each other, but each basal body is different and was assembled in different cell cycles. The mature basal body extends a cilium or flagellum but the pro-basal body was assembled in the last cell cycle and cannot form a cilium or flagellum until the next cell cycle. A cilium/flagellum exits the cell usually via an invagination of plasma membrane. In Trypanosomes this is the flagellar pocket (Fig 1). 

    Whole cell

    Fig 1. Lacomble S, VaughanS, Gadelha C, Morphew MK, Shaw MK, McIntosh JR, Gull K(2009). Three-dimensional cellular architecture ofthe flagellar pocket and associated cytoskeleton in trypanosomes revealed byelectron microscope tomographyJ Cell Sci.(Pt 8):1081-90.

         Basal body tether:

         The ultrastructure of the mature basal body is similar to many other eukaryotic organisms. Important questions include:

    • How are the mature and pro-basal body physically connected.

    • How do these connections alter during basal body segregation within the cell cycle. 

      We are using cellular electron tomography to understand the 3D organisation of this process.

    Fig 2 for research page-page-001
    Fig 2 (Cilia, 2016)