The cytoskeleton is the hallmark of eukaryotic evolution. The molecular and architectural aspects of the cytoskeleton have been playing a prominent role in our understanding of the origin and evolution of eukaryotes. In this study, we seek to investigate the cytoskeleton architecture and its evolutionary significance in understudied amoeboid lineages belonging to Amoebozoa. These amoebae primarily use cytoplasmic extensions supported by the cytoskeleton to perform important cellular processes such as movement and feeding. Amoeboid structure has important taxonomic significance, but, owing to techniques used, its potential significance in understanding diversity of the group has been seriously compromised, leading to an under-appreciation of its value. Here, we used immunocytochemistry and confocal microscopy to study the architecture of microtubules (MTs) and F-actin in diverse groups of amoebae. Our results demonstrate that all Amoebozoa examined are characterized by a complex cytoskeletal array, unlike what has been previously thought to exist. Our results not only conclusively demonstrate that all amoebozoans possess complex cytoplasmic MTs, but also provide, for the first time, a potential synapomorphy for the molecularly defined Amoebozoa clade. Based on this evidence, the last common ancestor of amoebozoans is hypothesized to have had a complex interwoven MT architecture limited within the granular cell body. We also generate several cytoskeleton characters related to MT and F-actin, which are found to be robust for defining groups in deep and shallow nodes of Amoebozoa.
Tekle, Yonas I. and Williams, Jessica R., "Cytoskeletal architecture and its evolutionary significance in amoeboid eukaryotes and their mode of locomotion" (2016). Spelman College Faculty Publications. 23.
Royal Society Open Science. 2016 Sep; 3(9): 160283.