International Microbiology, Vol 20, No 4 (2017)

Developmental stages identified in the trophozoite of the free-living Alveolate flagellate Colpodella sp. (Apicomplexa)

Raghavendra Yadavalli, Tobili Y. Sam-Yellowe


In this study we performed light, immunofluorescent and transmission electron microscopy of Colpodella trophozoites to characterize trophozoite morphology and protein distribution. The use of Giemsa staining and antibodies to distinguish Colpodella life cycle stages has not been performed previously. Rhoptry and β-tubulin antibodies were used in immunofluorescent assays (IFA) to identify protein localization and distribution in the trophozoite stage of Colpodella (ATCC 50594). We report novel data identifying “doughnut-shaped” vesicles in the cytoplasm and apical end of Colpodella trophozoites reactive with antibodies specific to Plasmodium merozoite rhoptry proteins. Giemsa staining and immunofluorescent microscopy identified different developmental stages of Colpodella trophozoites, with the presence or absence of vesicles corresponding to maturity of the trophozoite. These data demonstrate for the first time evidence of rhoptry protein conservation between Plasmodium and Colpodella and provide further evidence that Colpodella trophozoites can be used as a heterologous model to investigate rhoptry biogenesis and function. Staining and antibody reactivity will facilitate phylogenetic, biochemical and molecular investigations of Colpodella sp. Developmental stages can be distinguished by Giemsa staining and antibody reactivity.

Keywords: Colpodella · Rhoptries · Trichocysts · Apical complex · Plasmodium RhopH3

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