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Dual role of IFT57 in cilia and nucleus in Paramecium

Abstract : My thesis work consisted in the study of cilia and flagella, organelles highly conserved in many eukaryotes, which protrude at the cell surface as a microtubular backbone, the axoneme, bounded by an extension of the plasma membrane. A major interest in the study of cilia is that they are involved in the regulation of many cell events, such as re-entry in the cell cycle, and that their dysfunction in vertebrates provokes multi-symptomatic diseases called ciliopathies. Ciliary growth is under control of IFT (intraflagellar transport) mechanism, first discovered in Chlamydomonas. The IFT complex includes at least 17 members and is is composed of two subcomplexes, IFTB linked to kinesin for anterograde transport in ciliary building, and IFTA linked to dynein for retrograde transport in recycling. In my thesis on IFT in Paramecium, I focused on IFT57/Hippi, a member of IFTB, which seems to display two different functions in human cells: biogenesis of cilia as member of the IFTB particle and gene regulation in Huntington’s diseases, as part of a complex with Hip1 that binds caspase promoters involved in apoptosis. Some recent work also showed that in the cytoplasm of non-ciliate cells, IFT57, associated with IFT20 and IFT88, regulates T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) recycling in immune synapse. In Paramecium, four genes issued from two successive genome duplications encode IFT57 (IFT57A – D). The isoforms A and B on the one hand and C and D on the other hand are sufficiently close in DNA sequence to get homology dependent RNAi silencing with only one gene of each pair. I first confirmed that IFT57 Paramecium genes have a conserved IFT function in cilia formation, but apparently not in maintenance, in contrast to other IFT proteins such as IFT46. The combination of RNAi and GFP fusion localization allowed us to suggest interactions between IFT46 and IFT57 in the cytoplasm, upstream from the usual site of interaction in the basal body. I also found that IFT57A-GFP, but not IFT57C-GFP, can enter the macronucleus and that the labelling shifts from the old to the new macronucleus during sexual events (autogamy and conjugation). This result must be analysed in light of the mechanism that governs genome rearrangements during nuclear reorganization, which are dependent on transport of RNA as well as of piwi and other RNA-binding molecules from old to new macronucleus. By extension of its ciliary role, one interesting possibility is that IFT57 is a partner involved in this transport. I tried to detect the putative roles of IFT57A in sexual process and worked out a new RNAi method by hairpin RNA expression. I expressed a specific IFT57A hairpin under the control of the NOWA1 promoter (only expressed in autogamy or conjugation) and found surprisingly that this hairpin stops the autogamy process. Since another hairpin contain NSF sequence displayed a similar phenotype, I could not draw any conclusion about the role of IFT57A during autogamy. Using chimeras by exchanging parts of IFT57A and IFT57C, then by comparing this sequence to other in the Paramecium genus, I could determine the shortest region of IFT57A necessary for nuclear localization is the peptide encompassing L129 to N219, with two critical positions to functionally distinguish these two proteins.
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Lei Shi. Dual role of IFT57 in cilia and nucleus in Paramecium. Agricultural sciences. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2013. English. ⟨NNT : 2013PA112169⟩. ⟨tel-00922993⟩

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