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Motile eukaryotic flagella beat through coordinated activity of dynein motor proteins yet the mechanisms of dynein coordination and regulation are incompletely understood. The inner dynein arm IDA f/I1 complex and the tether/tether head (T/TH) complex are thought to be key regulators but, unlike IDA f/I1, T/TH proteins remain poorly characterised. Here we characterised T/TH-associated proteins in the protist Leishmania mexicana Proteome analysis of ΔCFAP44 mutant axonemes showed that they lacked IDA f/I1 protein IC140 and a novel 28-kDA axonemal protein, LAX28. Sequence analysis identified similarities between LAX28 and the uncharacterised human sperm tail protein TEX47, sharing features with sensory BLUF-domain proteins. Leishmania lacking LAX28, CFAP44 or IC140 retained some motility albeit with reduced swimming speed and directionality and a propensity for flagellar curling. Expression of tagged proteins in different null mutant backgrounds showed that the axonemal localisation of LAX28 requires CFAP44 and IC140, and the axonemal localisations of CFAP44 and IC140 both depend on LAX28. These data demonstrate a role for LAX28 in motility and show mutual dependencies of IDA f/1I and T/TH-associated proteins for axonemal assembly in Leishmania.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Sci

Publication Date



Cilia, Dynein, Flagella, Leishmania, Motility