Sequential production of gametes during meiosis in trypanosomes.
Meiosis is a core feature of eukaryotes that occurs in all major groups, including the early diverging excavates. In this group, meiosis and production of haploid gametes have been described in the pathogenic protist, Trypanosoma brucei, and mating occurs in the salivary glands of the insect vector, the tsetse fly. Here, we searched for intermediate meiotic stages among trypanosomes from tsetse salivary glands. Many different cell types were recovered, including trypanosomes in Meiosis I and gametes. Significantly, we found trypanosomes containing three nuclei with a 1:2:1 ratio of DNA contents. Some of these cells were undergoing cytokinesis, yielding a mononucleate gamete and a binucleate cell with a nuclear DNA content ratio of 1:2. This cell subsequently produced three more gametes in two further rounds of division. Expression of the cell fusion protein HAP2 (GCS1) was not confined to gametes, but also extended to meiotic intermediates. We propose a model whereby the two nuclei resulting from Meiosis I undergo asynchronous Meiosis II divisions with sequential production of haploid gametes.