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Golgi biogenesis in Toxoplasma gondii


Two models have been put forward to explain the growth of new Golgi during the cell cycle. The first suggests that a new Golgi grows out of the endoplasmic reticulum by de novo synthesis1. The second suggests that a pre-existing Golgi is needed for the growth of a new one, that is, the Golgi is an autonomously replicating organelle2. To resolve this issue, we have exploited the simplicity of the apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii3, which has only a single Golgi stack4. Here we show, by using video fluorescence microscopy and three-dimensional reconstructions of serial thin sections, that the Golgi grows by a process of lateral extension followed by medial fission. Further fission leads to the inheritance by each daughter of a pair of Golgi structures, which then coalesce to re-form a single Golgi. Our results indicate that new Golgi grow by autonomous duplication and raise the possibility that the Golgi is a paired structure that is analogous to centrioles5.

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Figure 1: Stages of Golgi growth and division.
Figure 2: Stable expression of mammalian Golgi proteins.
Figure 3: Immunoelectron microscopy of transgenic parasites.
Figure 4: Biogenesis of the Golgi apparatus in living parasites.


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We thank F. Barr and T. Nilsson for the GRASP55 and NAGTI plasmids; S. Trombetta for recombinant GFP; the Joiner and Roos labs—mainly F. Quittnat, T. Stedman and O. Harb—for advice and discussion; N. Andrews for the use of her cell-culture room; C. Roy and J. Kagan for help with confocal microscopy; K. Zichichi, C. Horensavitz and C. Deloyer-Pypaert for help with electron microscopy; Olympus for providing some of the microscopes; J. Shorter and E. Procyk for critically reading the manuscript; and the Warren and Mellman labs for discussions. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grants (to G.W., I.M., K.A.J. and D.S.R.) and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

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Correspondence to Graham Warren.

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Pelletier, L., Stern, C., Pypaert, M. et al. Golgi biogenesis in Toxoplasma gondii. Nature 418, 548–552 (2002).

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