1DIMNP- UMR5235, CNRS, Université de Montpellier , Montpellier, France.
Toxoplasma gondii and other apicomplexan parasites contain a peculiar non-photosynthetic plastid called the apicoplast, which is essential for their survival. The localization of autophagy-related protein ATG8 to the apicoplast in several apicomplexan species and life stages has recently been described, and we have shown this protein is essential for proper inheritance of this complex plastid into daughter cells during cell division. Although the mechanism behind ATG8 association to the apicoplast in T. gondii is related to the canonical conjugation system leading to autophagosome formation, its singular role seems independent from the initial catabolic purpose of autophagy. Here we also discuss further the functional evolution and innovative adaptations of the autophagy machinery to maintain this organelle during parasite division.
ATG8; Toxoplasma; apicomplexa; apicoplast; non canonical autophagy; plastid