Methanococcus maripaludis and Methanocaldococcus jannaschii produce cysteine for protein synthesis using a tRNA-dependent pathway. These methanogens charge tRNACys with l-phosphoserine, which is also an intermediate in the predicted pathways for serine and cystathionine biosynthesis. To establish the mode of phosphoserine production in Methanococcales, cell extracts of M. maripaludis were shown to have phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase and phosphoserine aminotransferase activities. The heterologously expressed and purified phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase from M. maripaludis had enzymological properties similar to those of its bacterial homologs but was poorly inhibited by serine. While bacterial enzymes are inhibited by micromolar concentrations of serine bound to an allosteric site, the low sensitivity of the archaeal protein to serine is consistent with phosphoserine's position as a branch point in several pathways. A broad-specificity class V aspartate aminotransferase from M. jannaschii converted the phosphohydroxypyruvate product to phosphoserine. This enzyme catalyzed the transamination of aspartate, glutamate, phosphoserine, alanine, and cysteate. The M. maripaludis homolog complemented a serC mutation in the Escherichia coli phosphoserine aminotransferase. All methanogenic archaea apparently share this pathway, providing sufficient phosphoserine for the tRNA-dependent cysteine biosynthetic pathway.
Hydrogen sulphide is a gas signalling molecule which is produced endogenously from L-cysteine via the enzymes cystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) and cystathionine gamma-lyase (CSE). The possible role of hydrogen sulphide in reproduction has not yet been fully investigated. It has been previously demonstrated that hydrogen sulphide relaxes uterine smooth muscle in vitro. The aim of the present study was to investigate the endogenous production of hydrogen sulphide in rat and human intrauterine tissues in vitro.
The production of hydrogen sulphide in rat and human intrauterine tissues was measured in vitro using a standard technique. The expression of CBS and CSE was also investigated in rat and human intrauterine tissues via Western blotting. Furthermore, the effects of nitric oxide (NO) and low oxygen conditions on the production rates of hydrogen sulphide were investigated.
The order of hydrogen sulphide production rates (mean +/- SD, n = 4) for rat tissues were: liver (777 +/- 163 nM/min/g) > uterus (168 +/- 100 nM/min/g) > fetal membranes (22.3 +/- 15.0 nM/min/g) > placenta (11.1 +/- 4.7 nM/min/g), compared to human placenta (200 +/- 102 nM/min/g). NO significantly increased hydrogen sulphide production in rat fetal membranes (P < 0.05). Under low oxygen conditions the production of hydrogen sulphide was significantly elevated in human placenta, rat liver, uterus and fetal membranes (P < 0.05). Western blotting (n = 4) detected the expression of CBS and CSE in all rat intrauterine tissues, and in human placenta, myometrium, amnion and chorion.
Rat and human intrauterine tissues produce hydrogen sulphide in vitro possibly via CBS and CSE enzymes. NO increased the production of hydrogen sulphide in rat fetal membranes. The augmentation of hydrogen sulphide production in human intrauterine tissues in a low oxygen environment could have a role in pathophysiology of pregnancy.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a protozoan parasite that causes a widely distributed sexually transmitted disease (STD). Since immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to specific trichomonad immunogens are found in serum and vaginal washes (VWs) from patients with trichomoniasis, a potential mechanism of immune evasion by this parasite might be the ability of T. vaginalis proteinases to degrade human immunoglobulins (Igs). Incubation of human IgG with lysates of T. vaginalis organisms resulted in time- and concentration-dependent degradation of the heavy chain. Secretory IgA was degraded similarly. Inhibitors of cysteine proteinases, when added to trichomonal lysates, abolished IgG and IgA degradation, while EDTA, a metalloproteinase inhibitor, did not. Substrate-gel electrophoresis with human IgG, IgM, or IgA copolymerized with acrylamide revealed several distinct cysteine proteinases in both lysates and culture supernatants from logarithmically growing parasites that degraded all classes of human antibodies. Trichomonal lysates and supernatants of numerous isolates tested all had Ig-degrading activity. Finally, proteolytic activity against IgG was detected in most (26 of 33; 78%) VWs from patients with trichomoniasis. In contrast, 18 of 28 (65%) VWs from women without trichomoniasis or from patients infected with other STDs had no detectable proteinases when tested in an identical manner. The other 10 of these 28 VWs (35%) had smaller amounts of detectable Ig-degrading proteinases. These differences in Ig-degrading proteinase activity between patients with and without trichomoniasis, regardless of coinfecting STDs, were statistically significant (P = 0.001). These results illustrate that T. vaginalis is capable of degrading human Igs.
The “amitochondriate” protozoan parasites of humans Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia intestinalis, and Trichomonas vaginalis share many biochemical features, e.g., energy and amino acid metabolism, a spectrum of drugs for their treatment, and the occurrence of drug resistance. These parasites possess metabolic pathways that are divergent from those of their mammalian hosts and are often considered to be good targets for drug development. Sulfur-containing-amino-acid metabolism represents one such divergent metabolic pathway, namely, the cysteine biosynthetic pathway and methionine γ-lyase-mediated catabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids, which are present in T. vaginalis and E. histolytica but absent in G. intestinalis. These pathways are potentially exploitable for development of drugs against amoebiasis and trichomoniasis. For instance, l-trifluoromethionine, which is catalyzed by methionine γ-lyase and produces a toxic product, is effective against T. vaginalis and E. histolytica parasites in vitro and in vivo and may represent a good lead compound. In this review, we summarize the biology of these microaerophilic parasites, their clinical manifestation and epidemiology of disease, chemotherapeutics, the modes of action of representative drugs, and problems related to these drugs, including drug resistance. We further discuss our approach to exploit unique sulfur-containing-amino-acid metabolism, focusing on development of drugs against E. histolytica.
A preliminary crystallographic study of cysteine synthase, a major enzyme in the cysteine-biosynthesis pathway, from the amoebic pathogen E. histolytica.
Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of human amoebiasis, is essentially anaerobic, requiring a small amount of oxygen for growth. It cannot tolerate the higher concentration of oxygen present in human tissues or blood. However, during tissue invasion it is exposed to a higher level of oxygen, leading to oxygen stress. Cysteine, which is a vital thiol in E. histolytica, plays an essential role in its oxygen-defence mechanisms. The major route of cysteine biosynthesis in this parasite is the condensation of O-acetylserine with sulfide by the de novo cysteine-biosynthetic pathway, which involves cysteine synthase (EhCS) as a key enzyme. In this study, EhCS was cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by affinity and size-exclusion chromatography. The purified protein was crystallized in space group P41 with two molecules per asymmetric unit and a complete data set was collected to a resolution of 1.86 Å. A molecular-replacement solution was obtained using the Salmonella typhimurium
O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase structure as a probe and had a correlation coefficient of 37.7% and an R factor of 48.8%.
cysteine synthase; Entamoeba histolytica
Trichomonas vaginalis, a human protozoan parasite known to lack the capability of synthesizing purine and pyrimidine nucleotides de novo, was found also incapable of converting its ribonucleotides to deoxyribonucleotides. The only apparent means of providing deoxyribonucleotides for DNA synthesis relies on salvaging exogenous deoxyribonucleosides by a deoxyribonucleoside phosphotransferase activity in the T. vaginalis 10(5) g pelletable fraction. The activity, constituted by at least two isozymes I and II, can be solubilized by Triton X-100, has a pH optimum of 5.0-6.0, and recognizes only thymidine, deoxyadenosine, deoxyguanosine, and deoxycytidine as the phosphate acceptor. TMP, dAMP, dGMP, dCMP, dUMP, FdUMP, and p- nitrophenylphosphate can serve as phosphate donors. Enzyme I has been purified 10-fold by DEAE-Sepharose chromatography and Sephacryl 200 filtration, and is totally freed of the acid phosphatase of T. vaginalis. It has an estimated molecular weight of 200,000 and Km values of 2-3 mM for the four deoxyribonucleosides, which act on each other as competitive inhibitors. It also possesses phosphatase activity capable of hydrolyzing p-nitrophenylphosphate with a Michaelis constant of 0.74 mM. The rates of hydrolysis are enhanced by thymidine, which suggests that the latter may be the preferred phosphate acceptor, and Enzyme I may be, thus, more a transferase than a phosphatase. This enzyme could be a potential target for antitrichomonial chemotherapy.
The role of cysteine proteinases in adherence of Trichomonas vaginalis NYH 286 to HeLa and human vaginal epithelial cells was evaluated. Only pretreatment of trichomonads, but not epithelial cells, with N-alpha-p-tosyl-L-lysine chloromethyl ketone (TLCK), an inhibitor of trichomonad cysteine proteinases, greatly diminished the ability of T. vaginalis to recognize and bind to epithelial cells. Leupeptin and L-1-tosylamide-2-phenylethyl chloromethyl ketone, other cysteine proteinase inhibitors, also decreased T. vaginalis cytadherence. Parasites incubated with TLCK and washed extensively still did not adhere to cells at levels equal to those seen for control trichomonads treated with phosphate-buffered saline or culture medium alone. Exposure of TLCK-treated organisms with other cysteine proteinases restored cytadherence levels, indicating that proteinase action on the parasite surface is prerequisite for host cell attachment. Concentrations of TLCK which inhibited cytadherence did not alter the metabolism of T. vaginalis, as determined by metabolic labeling of trichomonad proteins; the protein patterns of T. vaginalis in the presence and absence of TLCK were identical. Kinetics of TLCK-mediated inhibition of cytadherence of other T. vaginalis isolates with different levels of epithelial-cell parasitism were similar to the concentration-dependent inhibition seen for isolate NYH 286. Incubation of TLCK-treated, washed organisms in growth medium resulted in regeneration of adherence. Finally, treatment of T. vaginalis organisms with proteinase inhibitors for abrogation of cytadherence effectively rendered the trichomonads unable to kill host cells, which is consistent with the contact-dependent nature of host cytotoxicity. These data show for the first time the involvement of T. vaginalis cysteine proteinases in parasite attachment to human epithelial cells. These results have implications for future pharmacologic intervention at a key step in infection.
The biosynthesis of cysteine in bacteria and plants is carried out by a two-step pathway, catalyzed by serine acetyltransferase (SAT) and O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (OASS; O-acetylserine [thiol] lyase). The aerobic form of OASS forms a tight bienzyme complex with SAT in vivo, termed cysteine synthase. We have determined the crystal structure of OASS in complex with a C-terminal peptide of SAT required for bienzyme complex formation. The binding site of the peptide is at the active site of OASS, and its C-terminal carboxyl group occupies the same anion binding pocket as the α-carboxylate of the O-acetylserine substrate of OASS. These results explain the partial inhibition of OASS by SAT on complex formation as well as the competitive dissociation of the complex by O-acetylserine.
The protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis is the causative agent of trichomoniasis, the most widespread nonviral sexually transmitted disease in humans. It possesses hydrogenosomes—anaerobic mitochondria that generate H2, CO2, and acetate from pyruvate while converting ADP to ATP via substrate-level phosphorylation. T. vaginalis hydrogenosomes lack a genome and translation machinery; hence, they import all their proteins from the cytosol. To date, however, only 30 imported proteins have been shown to localize to the organelle. A total of 226 nuclear-encoded proteins inferred from the genome sequence harbor a characteristic short N-terminal presequence, reminiscent of mitochondrial targeting peptides, which is thought to mediate hydrogenosomal targeting. Recent studies suggest, however, that the presequences might be less important than previously thought. We sought to identify new hydrogenosomal proteins within the 59,672 annotated open reading frames (ORFs) of T. vaginalis, independent of the N-terminal targeting signal, using a machine learning approach. Our training set included 57 gene and protein features determined for all 30 known hydrogenosomal proteins and 576 nonhydrogenosomal proteins. Several classifiers were trained on this set to yield an import score for all proteins encoded by T. vaginalis ORFs, predicting the likelihood of hydrogenosomal localization. The machine learning results were tested through immunofluorescence assay and immunodetection in isolated cell fractions of 14 protein predictions using hemagglutinin constructs expressed under the homologous SCSα promoter in transiently transformed T. vaginalis cells. Localization of 6 of the 10 top predicted hydrogenosome-localized proteins was confirmed, and two of these were found to lack an obvious N-terminal targeting signal.
Infections with the sexually transmitted protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis are usually treated with metronidazole, a 5-nitroimidazole drug derived from the antibiotic azomycin. Metronidazole treatment is generally efficient in eliminating T. vaginalis infection and has a low risk of serious side effects. However, studies have shown that at least 5% of clinical cases of trichomoniasis are caused by parasites resistant to the drug. The lack of approved alternative therapies for T. vaginalis treatment means that higher and sometimes toxic doses of metronidazole are the only option for patients with resistant disease. Clearly, studies of the treatment and prevention of refractory trichomoniasis are essential. This review describes the mechanisms of metronidazole resistance in T. vaginalis and provides a summary of trichomonicidal and vaccine candidate drugs.
Metronidazole and related 5-nitroimidazoles are the only available drugs in the treatment of human urogenital trichomoniasis caused by the protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis. The drugs are activated to cytotoxic anion radicals by their reduction within the hydrogenosomes. It has been established that electrons required for metronidazole activation are released from pyruvate by the activity of pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase and transferred to the drug by a low-redox-potential carrier, ferredoxin. Here we describe a novel pathway involved in the drug activation within the hydrogenosome. The source of electrons is malate, another major hydrogenosomal substrate, which is oxidatively decarboxylated to pyruvate and CO2 by NAD-dependent malic enzyme. The electrons released during this reaction are transferred from NADH to ferredoxin by NADH dehydrogenase homologous to the catalytic module of mitochondrial complex I, which uses ferredoxin as electron acceptor. Trichomonads acquire high-level metronidazole resistance only after both pyruvate- and malate-dependent pathways of metronidazole activation are eliminated from the hydrogenosomes.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a common sexually transmitted protozoan parasite. Although often considered simply a nuisance infection, T. vaginalis has been implicated in premature rupture of placental membranes and increases in the risk of acquiring human immunodeficiency virus. Metronidazole, a 5-nitroimidazole, is currently the drug of choice to treat T. vaginalis infection. Because some patients have severe reactions to metronidazole and others are infected with metronidazole-resistant T. vaginalis, we were prompted to investigate alternative therapies. Tinidazole, another 5-nitroimidazole used in other countries to treat T. vaginalis infections, and furazolidone, a nitrofuran presently used to treat giardiasis and infections with some anaerobic enteric bacteria, were investigated for effectiveness against 9 metronidazole-susceptible and 12 metronidazole-resistant T. vaginalis patient isolates. The in vitro aerobic and anaerobic minimum lethal concentrations (MLC) and the time for drug efficacy were determined. Tinidazole killed the metronidazole-susceptible isolates at a low MLC but was effective against only 4 of the 12 metronidazole-resistant isolates. In contrast, furazolidone was effective at a low MLC for all isolates. When tinidazole was effective, it required > 6 h to kill trichomonads. However, furazolidone killed both metronidazole-susceptible and resistant trichomonads within 2 to 3 h of exposure. These data suggest that furazolidone may be a good candidate for treating metronidazole-resistant trichomoniasis and that further investigation of this drug is warranted.
Methionine γ-lyase, the enzyme which catalyzes the single-step conversion of methionine to α-ketobutyrate, ammonia, and methanethiol, is highly active in many anaerobic pathogenic microorganisms but has no counterpart in mammals. This study tested the hypothesis that this pathogen-specific enzyme can be exploited as a drug target by prodrugs that are exclusively activated by it. Trifluoromethionine was confirmed as such a prodrug and shown to be highly toxic in vitro to the anaerobic protozoan parasite Trichomonas vaginalis, to anaerobic bacteria containing methionine γ-lyase, and to Escherichia coli expressing the trichomonad gene. The compound also has exceptional activity against the parasite growing in vivo, with a single dose preventing lesion formation in five of the six mice challenged. These findings suggest that trifluoromethionine represents a lead compound for a novel class of anti-infective drugs with potential as chemotherapeutic agents against a range of prokaryotic and eukaryotic anaerobic pathogens.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a globally common sexually transmitted human parasite. Many strains of T. vaginalis from around the world have been described to be resistant to the current drug of choice, metronidazole. However, only a few cases of metronidazole resistance have been reported from Europe. The resistant strains cause prolonged infections which are difficult to treat. T. vaginalis infection also increases the risk for human immunodeficiency virus transmission. We present a practical method for determining the resistance of T. vaginalis to 5-nitroimidazoles. The suggested method was developed by determining the MICs and minimal lethal concentrations (MLCs) of metronidazole and ornidazole for T. vaginalis under various aerobic and anaerobic conditions. Using this assay we have found the first three metronidazole-resistant strains from Finland, although the origin of at least one of the strains seems to be Russia. Analysis of the patient-derived and previously characterized isolates showed that metronidazole-resistant strains were also resistant to ornidazole, and MLCs for all strains tested correlated well with the MICs. The suggested MICs of metronidazole for differentiation of sensitive and resistant isolates are >75 μg/ml in an aerobic 24-h assay and >15 μg/ml in an anaerobic 48-h assay.
Trichomonas vaginalis is the most common non-viral sexually transmitted pathogen. The infection is prevalent in reproductive age women and is associated with vaginitis, endometritis, adnexitis, pyosalpinx, infertility, preterm birth, low birth weight, bacterial vaginosis, and increased risk of cervical cancer, HPV, and HIV infection. In men, its complications include urethritis, prostatitis, epididymitis, and infertility through inflammatory damage or interference with the sperm function. The infection is often asymptomatic and recurrent despite the presence of specific antibodies, suggesting the importance of the innate immune defense. T. vaginalis adhesion proteins, cysteine proteases, and the major parasite lipophosphoglycan (LPG) play distinct roles in the pathogenesis and evasion of host immunity. LPG plays a key role in the parasite adherence and signaling to human vaginal and cervical epithelial cells, which is at least in part mediated by galectins. The epithelial cells respond to T. vaginalis infection and purified LPG by selective upregulation of proinflammatory mediators. At the same time, T. vaginalis triggers an immunosuppressive response in monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. The molecular mechanisms underlying reproductive complications and epidemiologic risks associated with T. vaginalis infection remain to be elucidated.
Trichomonas vaginalis; lipophosphoglycan; cytokines; galectins; human vaginal epithelial cells
Trichomonas vaginalis, a parasitic protozoan, is the etiologic agent of trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) of worldwide importance. Trichomoniasis is the most common nonviral STD, and it is associated with many perinatal complications, male and female genitourinary tract infections, and an increased incidence of HIV transmission. Diagnosis is difficult, since the symptoms of trichomoniasis mimic those of other STDs and detection methods lack precision. Although current treatment protocols involving nitroimidazoles are curative, metronidazole resistance is on the rise, outlining the need for research into alternative antibiotics. Vaccine development has been limited by a lack of understanding of the role of the host immune response to T. vaginalis infection. The lack of a good animal model has made it difficult to conduct standardized studies in drug and vaccine development and pathogenesis. Current work on pathogenesis has focused on the host-parasite relationship, in particular the initial events required to establish infection. These studies have illustrated that the pathogenesis of T. vaginalis is indeed very complex and involves adhesion, hemolysis, and soluble factors such as cysteine proteinases and cell-detaching factor. T. vaginalis interaction with the members of the resident vaginal flora, an advanced immune evasion strategy, and certain stress responses enable the organism to survive in its changing environment. Clearly, further research and collaboration will help elucidate these pathogenic mechanisms, and with better knowledge will come improved disease control.
BACKGROUND: Trichomonas vaginalis, a worldwide distributed sexually transmitted protozoan, is remarkable for synthesis of numerous, distinct cysteine proteinases, the significance of which is evidenced by the presence in vivo of soluble proteinases in secretions and antiproteinase antibody in serum of patients with trichomonosis. These proteinases purportedly play a role in host parasitism and immune evasion. OBJECTIVE: It is known that for cysteine proteinases to be functional, they must be activated by disulphide reducing reagents. Whether or not the host vaginal environment has the reducing environment essential for activation of the trichomonad cysteine proteinases is unknown. Our goal, therefore, was to determine whether or not vaginal secretions had sufficient reducing power to activate the trichomonad proteinases. METHODS: 48 vaginal washes (VWs) from patients were assayed for reducing equivalents and a score in dithiothreitol (DTT) reducing equivalents was assigned to each VW. Activation of trichomonad cysteine proteinases was then tested under the range of reducing equivalents detected from VWs. The possible protective effect of hydrogen peroxide, an oxidising agent produced by some Lactobacillus species, on proteinase activity was also determined. RESULTS: Nine of 48 VWs (18.7%) possessed < or = 10 microM DTT reducing equivalents, four VWs (8.3%) had from 20 microM DTT to 40 microM DTT reducing equivalents, and most (50%) were between 10 microM to 15 microM. Overall, the range in VWs was from approximately 10 microM to 40 microM reducing equivalents. Importantly, data suggest differential proteinase activation over this in vivo range of reducing level. Only two T vaginalis cysteine proteinase activities were stimulated at 2.5 microM DTT in contrast with all proteinase activities present at 40 microM DTT, albeit quantitatively diminished compared with the activity at 1 mM DTT, the concentration routinely used in vitro. Finally, hydrogen peroxide reversibly neutralised all trichomonad proteinases. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that the vagina of women has a reducing environment adequate for activation of trichomonad proteinases. The data underscore that the host environment plays a role in the host-parasite interrelation. Finally, hypotheses can now be formulated to help explain resistance and susceptibility to infection commonly reported among women and between men and women with trichomonosis.
A technique based on resistance to azaserine was used to isolate mutants lacking O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase B, one of two enzymes in Salmonella typhimurium capable of synthesizing L-cysteine from O-acetyl-L-serine and sulfide. The mutant locus responsible for this defect has been designated cysM, and genetic mapping suggests that cysM is very close to and perhaps contiguous with cysA. Strains lacking either O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase B or the second sulfhydrylase, O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A (coded for by cysK), are cysteine prototrophs, but cysK cysM double mutants were found to require cysteine for growth. O-Acetylserine sulfhydrylase B was depressed by growth on a poor sulfur source, and depression was dependent upon both a functional cysB regulatory gene product and the internal inducer of the cysteine biosynthetic pathway, O-acetyl-L-serine. Furthermore, a cysBc strain, in which other cysteine biosynthetic enzymes cannot be fully repressed by growth on L-cystine, was found to be constitutive for O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase B as well. Thus O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase B is regulated by the same factors that control the expression of O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase A and other activities of the cysteine regulon. It is not clear why S. typhimurium has two enzymes whose physiological function appears to be to catalyze the same step of L-cysteine biosynthesis.
Trichomonas vaginalis is a protozoan parasite which causes vaginitis in women worldwide. Metronidazole with vast side effects is drug of choice for this infection. In search for an alternative drug, in this study the effect of three plants on Trichomonas vaginalis has been investigated in vitro.
Materials and Methods:
Alcoholic and watery extracts of Echinophora platyloba, Stachys lavandulifolia, and Eucalyptus camaldulensis were prepared. In TYIS culture medium containing alive Trichomonas vaginalis different concentrations of extracts of three plants were added. Following, 24, 48, and 72 h incubation the number of parasite in each test tube was counted.
Eucalyptus camaldulensis showed a strong effect on Trichomonas vaginalis growth. However, no significant effect was observed with Echinophora platyloba or Stachys lavandulifolia extracts.
Eucalyptus camaldulensis can be considered as an alternative drug for treatment of infective vaginitis which is caused by bacteria, fungi and parasites.
Echinophora platyloba; Eucalyptus camaldulensis; plants; Stachys lavandulifolia; Trichomonas vaginalis
The anaerobic protozoa Giardia duodenalis, Trichomonas vaginalis, and Entamoeba histolytica infect up to a billion people each year. G. duodenalis and E. histolytica are primarily pathogens of the intestinal tract, although E. histolytica can form abscesses and invade other organs, where it can be fatal if left untreated. T. vaginalis infection is a sexually transmitted infection causing vaginitis and acute inflammatory disease of the genital mucosa. T. vaginalis has also been reported in the urinary tract, fallopian tubes, and pelvis and can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, and oral lesions. Respiratory infections can be acquired perinatally. T. vaginalis infections have been associated with preterm delivery, low birth weight, and increased mortality as well as predisposing to human immunodeficiency virus infection, AIDS, and cervical cancer. All three organisms lack mitochondria and are susceptible to the nitroimidazole metronidazole because of similar low-redox-potential anaerobic metabolic pathways. Resistance to metronidazole and other drugs has been observed clinically and in the laboratory. Laboratory studies have identified the enzyme that activates metronidazole, pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase, to its nitroso form and distinct mechanisms of decreasing drug susceptibility that are induced in each organism. Although the nitroimidazoles have been the drug family of choice for treating the anaerobic protozoa, G. duodenalis is less susceptible to other antiparasitic drugs, such as furazolidone, albendazole, and quinacrine. Resistance has been demonstrated for each agent, and the mechanism of resistance has been investigated. Metronidazole resistance in T. vaginalis is well documented, and the principal mechanisms have been defined. Bypass metabolism, such as alternative oxidoreductases, have been discovered in both organisms. Aerobic versus anaerobic resistance in T. vaginalis is discussed. Mechanisms of metronidazole resistance in E. histolytica have recently been investigated using laboratory-induced resistant isolates. Instead of downregulation of the pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase and ferredoxin pathway as seen in G. duodenalis and T. vaginalis, E. histolytica induces oxidative stress mechanisms, including superoxide dismutase and peroxiredoxin. The review examines the value of investigating both clinical and laboratory-induced syngeneic drug-resistant isolates and dissection of the complementary data obtained. Comparison of resistance mechanisms in anaerobic bacteria and the parasitic protozoa is discussed as well as the value of studies of the epidemiology of resistance.
Cysteine and methionine biosynthesis was studied in Pseudomonas putida S-313 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1. Both these organisms used direct sulfhydrylation of O-succinylhomoserine for the synthesis of methionine but also contained substantial levels of O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase (cysteine synthase) activity. The enzymes of the transsulfuration pathway (cystathionine γ-synthase and cystathionine β-lyase) were expressed at low levels in both pseudomonads but were strongly upregulated during growth with cysteine as the sole sulfur source. In P. aeruginosa, the reverse transsulfuration pathway between homocysteine and cysteine, with cystathionine as the intermediate, allows P. aeruginosa to grow rapidly with methionine as the sole sulfur source. P. putida S-313 also grew well with methionine as the sulfur source, but no cystathionine γ-lyase, the key enzyme of the reverse transsulfuration pathway, was found in this species. In the absence of the reverse transsulfuration pathway, P. putida desulfurized methionine by the conversion of methionine to methanethiol, catalyzed by methionine γ-lyase, which was upregulated under these conditions. A transposon mutant of P. putida that was defective in the alkanesulfonatase locus (ssuD) was unable to grow with either methanesulfonate or methionine as the sulfur source. We therefore propose that in P. putida methionine is converted to methanethiol and then oxidized to methanesulfonate. The sulfonate is then desulfonated by alkanesulfonatase to release sulfite for reassimilation into cysteine.
Neutrophils play an important role in the human immune system for protection against such microorganisms as a protozoan parasite, Trichomonas vaginalis; however, the precise role of neutrophils in the pathogenesis of trichomoniasis is still unknown. Moreover, it is thought that trichomonal lysates and excretory-secretory products (ESP), as well as live T. vaginalis, could possibly interact with neutrophils in local tissues, including areas of inflammation induced by T. vaginalis in humans. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of T. vaginalis lysate on the fate of neutrophils. We found that T. vaginalis lysate inhibits apoptosis of human neutrophils as revealed by Giemsa stain. Less altered mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and surface CD16 receptor expression also supported the idea that neutrophil apoptosis is delayed after T. vaginalis lysate stimulation. In contrast, ESP stimulated-neutrophils were similar in apoptotic features of untreated neutrophils. Maintained caspase-3 and myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) in neutrophils co-cultured with trichomonad lysate suggest that an intrinsic mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis was involved in T. vaginalis lysate-induced delayed neutrophil apoptosis; this phenomenon may contribute to local inflammation in trichomoniasis.
Trichomonas vaginalis; Tritrichomonas foetus; lysate; neutrophil; apoptosis; flow cytometry
Trichomonas vaginalis is a protist that causes the most common human sexually transmitted infection. A T. vaginalis cDNA expression library was screened with pooled sera from patients with trichomoniasis. A highly reactive cDNA clone of 1,428 bp encoded a trichomonad protein of 472 amino acids with sequence identity to α-enolase (tv-eno1). The sequence alignment confirmed the highly conserved nature of the enzyme with 65% to 84% identity among organisms. The expression of tv-eno1 was up-regulated by contact of parasites with vaginal epithelial cells, and this is the first report demonstrating up-regulation by cytoadherence of a plasminogen-binding α-enolase in T. vaginalis. Immunofluorescence with monoclonal antibody of nonpermeabilized trichomonads showed tv-ENO1 on the surface. The recombinant tv-ENO1 was expressed in Escherichia coli as a glutathione S-transferase (GST)::tv-ENO1 fusion protein, which was cleaved using thrombin to obtain affinity-purified recombinant tv-ENO1 protein (tv-rENO1) detectable in immunoblots by sera of patients. Immobilized tv-rENO1 bound human plasminogen in a dose-dependent manner, and plasminogen binding by tv-rENO1 was confirmed in a ligand blot assay. The plasminogen-specific inhibitor ɛ-aminocaproic acid blocked the tv-rENO1-plasminogen association, indicating that lysines play a role in binding to tv-rENO1. Further, both parasites and tv-rENO1 activate plasminogen to plasmin that is mediated by tissue plasminogen activator. These data indicate that as with other bacterial pathogens, tv-ENO1 is an anchorless, surface-associated glycolytic enzyme of T. vaginalis.
Trichomonas vaginalis and Tritrichomonas foetus cause common sexually transmitted infections in humans and cattle, respectively. Mouse models of trichomoniasis are important for pathogenic and therapeutic studies. Here, we compared murine genital infections with T. vaginalis and T. foetus. Persistent vaginal infection with T. foetus was established with 100 parasites but T. vaginalis infection required doses of 106, perhaps because of greater susceptibility to killing by mouse vaginal polymorphonuclear leukocytes. Infection with T. vaginalis persisted longest after combined treatment of mice with estrogen and dexamethasone, whereas infection was only short-lived when mice were given estrogen or dexamethasone alone, co-infected with Lactobacillus acidophilus, and/or pretreated with antibiotics. Infection rates were similar with metronidazole-resistant (MR) and metronidazole-sensitive (MS) T. vaginalis. High dose but not low dose metronidazole treatment controlled infection with MS better than MR T. vaginalis. These murine models will be valuable for investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of trichomoniasis.
The parabasalian flagellate Trichomonas vaginalis harbors mitochondrion-related and H2-producing organelles of anaerobic ATP synthesis, called hydrogenosomes, which harbor oxygen-sensitive enzymes essential to its pyruvate metabolism. In the human urogenital tract, however, T. vaginalis is regularly exposed to low oxygen concentrations and therefore must possess antioxidant systems protecting the organellar environment against the detrimental effects of molecular oxygen and reactive oxygen species. We have identified two closely related hydrogenosomal thioredoxin reductases (TrxRs), the hitherto-missing component of a thioredoxin-linked hydrogenosomal antioxidant system. One of the two hydrogenosomal TrxR isoforms, TrxRh1, carried an N-terminal extension resembling known hydrogenosomal targeting signals. Expression of hemagglutinin-tagged TrxRh1 in transfected T. vaginalis cells revealed that its N-terminal extension was necessary to import the protein into the organelles. The second hydrogenosomal TrxR isoform, TrxRh2, had no N-terminal targeting signal but was nonetheless efficiently targeted to hydrogenosomes. N-terminal presequences from hydrogenosomal proteins with known processing sites, i.e., the alpha subunit of succinyl coenzyme A synthetase (SCSα) and pyruvate:ferredoxin oxidoreductase A, were investigated for their ability to direct mature TrxRh1 to hydrogenosomes. Neither presequence directed TrxRh1 to hydrogenosomes, indicating that neither extension is, by itself, sufficient for hydrogenosomal targeting. Moreover, SCSα lacking its N-terminal extension was efficiently imported into hydrogenosomes, indicating that this extension is not required for import of this major hydrogenosomal protein. The finding that some hydrogenosomal enzymes require N-terminal signals for import but that in others the N-terminal extension is not necessary for targeting indicates the presence of additional targeting signals within the mature subunits of several hydrogenosome-localized proteins.