Ferritins are proteins that play a central role in maintaining intracellular iron balance. A cDNA clone of Fasciola hepatica (687 bp long) encoding a putative 228-amino acid polypeptide (FhFtn-1) homologous with ferritins of vertebrates and invertebrates was identified. FhFtn-1 contains a conserved motif of the ferroxidase center typical of vertebrate ferritins. Phylogenetic tree analysis showed that FhFtn-1 clusters with two ferritins of Paragonimus westermani, which suggests a common ancestry for the ferritins of these two trematodes. Recombinant FhFtn-1 protein expressed and purified from an Escherichia coli system showed iron-uptake ability. Moreover, FhFtn-1 showed strong reactivity with sera from rabbits infected with F. hepatica for 2–12 weeks, which suggests that this protein could be a potential antigen for immunodiagnosis of fascioliasis. qPCR analysis demonstrated that FhFtn-1-mRNA is expressed at significantly higher levels in adults and unembryonated eggs than in juveniles or miracidia. These results represent the first characterization of a ferritin protein from the liver fluke F. hepatica.
fascioliasis; ferritin; liver fluke; developmental expression
In this study, we characterized ceramide synthase (CerS) of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi at the molecular and functional levels. TcCerS activity was detected initially in a cell-free system using the microsomal fraction of epimastigote forms of T. cruzi, [3H]dihydrosphingosine or [3H]sphingosine, and fatty acids or acyl-CoA derivatives as acceptor or donor substrates, respectively. TcCerS utilizes both sphingoid long-chain bases, and its activity is exclusively dependent on acyl-CoAs, with palmitoyl-CoA being preferred. In addition, Fumonisin B1, a broad and well-known acyl-CoA-dependent CerS inhibitor, blocked the parasite’s CerS activity. However, unlike observations in fungi, the CerS inhibitors Australifungin and Fumonisin B1 did not affect the proliferation of epimastigotes in culture, even after exposure to high concentrations or after extended periods of treatment. A search of the parasite genome with the conserved Lag1 motif from Lag1p, the yeast acyl-CoA-dependent CerS, identified a T. cruzi candidate gene (TcCERS1) that putatively encodes the parasite’s CerS activity. The TcCERS1 gene was able to functionally complement the lethality of a lag1Δlac1Δ double deletion yeast mutant in which the acyl-CoA-dependent CerS is not detectable. The complemented strain was capable of synthesizing normal inositol-containing sphingolipids and is 10 times more sensitive to Fumonisin B1 than the parental strain.
Ceramide synthase; Trypanosoma cruzi; Fumonisin B1; sphingolipid biosynthetic pathway; Chagas disease
Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African Sleeping sickness, is replete with unique biochemistry, including unusual features of gene transcription. The parasite also contains over 4500 non-annotated genes, representing novel biochemistry yet to be explored. Using tandem affinity purification (TAP)-tagged TbTFIIB, we identified and subsequently confirmed, one of the non-annotated Trypanosoma brucei proteins, Tb11.02.4300, as a TbTFIIB-interacting protein. The 49 kDa protein is nuclear and essential for parasite variability as determined by RNA interference studies; hence, the nomenclature T. brucei Essential Nuclear Factor (TbENF). TbENF is shown to interact with DNA in a sequence-independent fashion under the conditions examined. Furthermore, TbENF bears motifs associated with many eukaryotic transcription factors, such as a glutamine-rich region and a leucine zipper, yet TbENF is specific to trypanosomatids making it a potentially attractive therapeutic target. Taken together, our results suggest a role for TbENF in trypanosome gene transcription.
Trypanosoma brucei; TFIIB-interacting protein; transcription; DNA-binding protein
The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei switches its variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) to subvert its mammalian hosts’ immune responses. The T. brucei genome contains as many as 1600 VSG genes (VSGs), but most are silent noncoding pseudogenes. Only one functional VSG, located in a telomere-linked expression site, is transcribed at a time. Silent VSGs are copied into a VSG expression site through gene conversion. Truncated gene conversion events can generate new mosaic VSGs with segments of sequence identity to other VSGs. To examine the VSG family sub-structure within which these events occur, we combined the available VSG sequences and annotations with scripted BLAST searches to map the relationships among VSGs in the T. brucei genome. Clusters of related VSGs were visualized in 2- and 3-dimensions for different N- and C-terminal regions. Five types of N-termini (N1 – N5) were observed, within which gene recombinational events are likely to occur, often with fully-coding ‘functional’ or ‘atypical’ VSGs centrally located between more dissimilar VSGs. Members of types N1, N3 and N4 are most closely related in the middle of the N-terminal region, whereas type N2 members are more similar near the N-terminus. Some preference occurs in pairing between specific N- and C- terminal types. Statistical analyses indicated no overall tendency for more related VSGs to be located closer in the genome than less related VSGs, although exceptions were noted. Many potential mosaic gene formation events within each N-terminal type were identified, contrasted by only one possible mosaic gene formation between N-terminal types (N1 and N2). These data suggest that mosaic gene formation is a major contributor to the overall VSG diversity, even though gene recombinational events between members of different N-terminal types occur only rarely.
African trypanosome; variant surface glycoprotein; antigenic variation; mosaic gene; sequence alignment
Trypanosomatid parasites possess extremely divergent transcription factors whose identification typically relied on biochemical, structural and functional analyses because they could not be identified by standard sequence analysis. For example, subunits of the Trypanosoma brucei mediator and class I transcription factor A (CITFA) have no sequence resemblance to putative counterparts in higher eukaryotes. Therefore, homologous in vitro transcription systems have been crucial in evaluating the transcriptional roles of T. brucei proteins but so far such systems have been restricted to the insect-stage, procyclic form (PF) of the parasite. Here, we report the development of a homologous system for the mammalian-infective, bloodstream form (BF) of T. brucei which supports accurately initiated transcription from three different RNA polymerase (pol) I promoters as well as from the RNA pol II-recruiting spliced leader RNA gene promoter. The system is based on a small scale extract preparation procedure which accommodates the low cell densities obtainable in BF culture. BF and PF systems behave surprisingly similar and we show that the CITFA complex purified from procyclic extract is fully functional in the BF system indicating that the transcriptional machinery in general is equivalent in both life cycle stages. A notable difference, however, was observed with the RNA pol I-recruiting GPEET procyclin promoter whose reduced promoter strength and increased sensitivity to manganese ions in the BF system suggests the specific presence of a transcriptional activator in the PF system.
Dictyocaulus viviparus causes a serious lung disease of cattle. Similar to other parasitic nematodes, D. viviparus possesses several acetylcholinesterase (AChE) genes, one of which encodes a putative neuromuscular AChE, which contains a tryptophan (W) amphiphilic tetramerization (WAT) domain at its C-terminus. In the current study, we describe the biochemical characterization of a recombinant version of this WAT domain-containing AChE. To assess if the WAT domain is biologically functional, we investigated the association of the recombinant enzyme with the vertebrate tail proteins, proline-rich membrane anchor (PRiMA) and collagen Q (ColQ), as well as the synthetic polypeptide poly-L-proline. The results indicate that the recombinant enzyme hydrolyzes acetylthiocholine preferentially and exhibits inhibition by excess substrate, a characteristic of AChEs but not butyrylcholinesterases (BChEs). The enzyme is inhibited by the AChE inhibitor, BW284c51, but not by the BChE inhibitors, ethopropazine or iso-OMPA. The enzyme is able to assemble into monomeric (G1), dimeric (G2), and tetrameric (G4) globular forms and can also associate with PRiMA and ColQ, which contain proline-rich attachment domains (PRADs). This interaction is likely to be mediated via WAT-PRAD interactions, as the enzyme also assembles into tetramers with the synthetic polypeptide poly-L-proline. These interactions are typical of AChET subunits. This is the first demonstration of an AChET from a parasitic nematode that can assemble into heterologous forms with vertebrate proteins that anchor the enzyme in cholinergic synapses. We discuss the implications of our results for this particular host/parasite system and for the evolution of AChE.
acetylcholinesterase; cholinergic nervous system; Dictyocaulus viviparus; ColQ; PRiMA; poly-L-proline; evolution
Dipeptidyl aminopeptidase 1 (DPAP1) is an essential food vacuole enzyme with a putative role in hemoglobin catabolism by the erythrocytic malaria parasite. Here, the biochemical properties of DPAP1 have been investigated and compared to those of the human ortholog cathepsin C. To facilitate the characterization of DPAP1, we have developed a method for the production of purified recombinant DPAP1 with properties closely resembling those of the native enzyme. Like cathepsin C, DPAP1 is a chloride-activated enzyme that is most efficient in catalyzing amide bond hydrolysis at acidic pH values. The monomeric quaternary structure of DPAP1 differs from the homotetrameric structure of cathepsin C, which suggests that tetramerization is required for a cathepsin C-specific function. The S1 and S2 subsite preferences of DPAP1 and cathepsin C were profiled with a positional scanning synthetic combinatorial library. The S1 preferences bore close similarity to those of other C1-family cysteine peptidases. The S2 subsites of both DPAP1 and cathepsin C accepted aliphatic hydrophobic residues, proline, and some polar residues, yielding a distinct specificity profile. DPAP1 efficiently catalyzed the hydrolysis of several fluorogenic dipeptide substrates; surprisingly, however, a potential substrate with a P2-phenylalanine residue was instead a competitive inhibitor. Together, our biochemical data suggest that DPAP1 accelerates the production of amino acids from hemoglobin by bridging the gap between the endopeptidase and aminopeptidase activities of the food vacuole. Two reversible cathepsin C inhibitors potently inhibited both recombinant and native DPAP1, thereby validating the use of recombinant DPAP1 for future inhibitor discovery and characterization.
malaria; hemoglobin; cathepsin; exopeptidase; vacuole
The apicoplast of Plasmodium is an essential organelle with its own circular genome that must be faithfully replicated and segregated to its progeny during parasite sporogony and schizogony. DNA replication proteins are not encoded by its genome. Instead, the replication machinery must be imported from nuclear-encoded genes. A likely apicoplast DNA replication factor, PfPrex, bears a bipartite leader sequence for apicoplast trafficking and contains several DNA replication-related enzymatic domains. Here we analyze the domain structure of PfPrex and examine its trafficking and maturation within the parasite. A minimal primase domain of PfPrex is shown to contain functional zinc-binding and TOPRIM-fold domains, which in a recombinant form are sufficient to produce RNA primers from a single-stranded DNA template. PfPrex is shown to be extensively proteolytically matured within the parasite, which effectively separates its functional domains. Gene targeting attempts to knockout the P. yoelii ortholog of Prex were unsuccessful, indicating the apparent essentiality of this protein to the parasite. Finally, overexpression in P. falciparum of PfPrex’s trafficking and primase sequences yielded specific and dynamic localization to foci within the apicoplast. Taken together, these observations strongly suggest an essential role of PfPrex primase in the production of RNA primers for lagging strand DNA synthesis of the apicoplast genome.
Plasmodium falciparum; malaria; apicoplast; DNA replication; primase; proteolytic processing
Neurocysticercosis is an endemic parasitic disease caused by Taenia solium larva. Although the mechanism of infection is not completely understood, it is likely driven by proteolytic activity that degrades the intestinal wall to facilitate oncosphere penetration and further infection. We analyzed the publicly available Taenia solium EST/DNA library and identified two contigs comprising a full-length cDNA fragment very similar to E. granulosus Ag5 protein. The Taenia solium cDNA sequence included a proteolytic trypsin-like-domain in the C-terminal region, and a thrombospondin type-1 adherence-domain in the N-terminal region. Both the trypsin-like and adherence domains were expressed independently as recombinant proteins in bacterial systems. TsAg5 showed marginal trypsin-like activity and high sequence similarity to Ag5. The purified antigens were tested in a Western immunoblot assay to diagnose human neurocysticercosis. The sensitivity of the trypsin-like-domain was 96.36% in patients infected with extraparenchymal cysts, 75.44% in patients infected with multiple cysts, and 39.62% in patients with a single cyst. Specificity was 76.70%. The thrombospondin type-1 adherence-domain was not specific for neurocysticercosis.
trypsin; adherence; cysticercus; oncosphere; protease; diagnostics
Leishmania cannot synthesize purines de novo and therefore must scavenge purines from its host for survival and growth. Biochemical and genomic analyses have indicated that Leishmania species express three potential routes for the synthesis of guanylate nucleotides: 1) a two-step pathway that converts IMP to GMP; 2) a three-step pathway that starts with the deamination of guanine to xanthine, followed by phosphoribosylation to XMP and then conversion to GMP; or 3) direct guanine phosphoribosylation by HGPRT. To determine the role of the first of these pathways to guanylate nucleotide synthesis, an L. donovani line deficient in IMP dehydrogenase (IMPDH), the first step in the IMP to GMP pathway, was constructed by targeted gene replacement. The Δimpdh lesion triggered a highly restrictive growth phenotype in promastigotes in culture but did not impact parasitemias in mice. The dispensability of IMPDH in vivo is the first definitive demonstration that intracellular L. donovani amastigotes have access to a sufficient pool of guanine, xanthine, or guanylate precursors from the host.
Leishmania donovani; gene targeting; purine salvage; inosine-5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase; guanylate nucleotides
The Wolbachia endosymbiont of the human filarial parasites is necessary for parasite reproduction, making it an attractive chemotherapeutic target. Previous studies have demonstrated that mRNA levels of several nuclearly encoded genes are altered as a result of exposure to antibiotics that eliminate the endosymbiont, suggesting that they may be involved in maintaining the parasite-endosymbiont relationship. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the increase in mRNA levels of certain nuclearly encoded genes of Brugia malayi in response to tetracycline treatment involved specific regulatory elements present in the promoters of these genes. The promoters of three such genes (BmRPL13, BmRPS4 and BmHSP70) were tested for tetracycline responsiveness utilizing a homologous transient transcription system. Reporter gene expression driven by all three promoters was up-regulated in transfected embryos exposed to tetracycline. Substitution mutagenesis was employed to map the cis-acting elements responsible for this response in the BmHSP70 promoter. Tetracycline responsiveness was found to be distinct from the cis-acting elements involved in regulating the stress response from the BmHSP70 promoter; rather, tetracycline responsiveness was mediated by a TATAA-box like element. This study represents the first demonstration of small molecule-mediated gene regulation of a native B. malayi promoter.
filariasis; transfection; promoter; Wolbachia
Recent technical advances have rapidly advanced the discovery of novel peptides, as well as the transcripts that encode them, in the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum. Here we report that many of these novel peptides produce profound and varied effects on locomotory behavior and levels of cyclic nucleotides in A. suum. We investigated the effects of 31 endogenous neuropeptides encoded by transcripts afp-1, afp-2, afp-4, afp-6, afp-7, and afp-9 - 14, (afp: Ascaris FMRFamide –like Precursor protein) on cyclic nucleotide levels, body length and locomotory behavior. Worms were induced to generate anteriorly propagating waveforms, peptides were injected into the pseudocoelomic cavity, and changes in the specific activity (nmol/mg protein) of second messengers cAMP (3′5′ cyclic adenosine monophosphate) and cGMP (3′5′ cyclic guanosine monophosphate) were determined. Many of these neuropeptides changed the levels of cAMP (both increases and decreases were found), whereas few neuropeptides changed the level of cGMP. A subset of the peptides that lowered cAMP was investigated for effects on the locomotory waveform and on body length. Injection of AF19, or AF34 (afp-13), AF9 (afp-14), AF26 or AF41 (afp-11) caused immediate paralysis and cessation of propagating body waveforms. These neuropeptides also significantly increased body length. In contrast, injection of AF15 (afp-9) reduced the body length, and decreased the amplitude of waves in the body waveform. AF30 (afp-10) produced worms with tight ventral coils. Although injection of neuropeptides encoded by afp-1 (AF3, AF4, AF10 or AF13) produced an increased number of exaggerated body waves, there were no effects on either cAMP or cGMP. By injecting peptides into behaving A. suum, we have provided an initial screen of the effects of novel peptides on several behavioral and biochemical parameters.
Neuropeptides; cAMP; cGMP; Ascaris suum; locomotory behavior; parasite
Trypanosoma brucei has a multifunctional RNA polymerase (pol) I that transcribes ribosomal gene units (RRNA) and units encoding its major cell surface proteins variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) and procyclin. Previous analysis of tandem affinity-purified, transcriptionally active RNA pol I identified ten subunits including an apparently trypanosomatid-specific protein termed RPA31. Another ortholog was identified in silico. No orthologs of the yeast subunit doublet RPA43/RPA14 have been identified yet. Instead, a recent report presented evidence that RPB7, the RNA pol II paralog of RPA43, is an RNA pol I subunit and essential for RRNA and VSG transcription in bloodstream form trypanosomes (Penate et al., 2009, EMBO Rep. 10:252–257). Revisiting this attractive hypothesis, we were unable to detect a stable interaction between RPB7 and RNA pol I in either reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation or tandem affinity purification. Furthermore, immunodepletion of RPB7 from extract virtually abolished RNA pol II transcription in vitro but had no effect on RRNA or VSG ES promoter transcription in the same reactions. Accordingly, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed cross-linking of RPB7 to known RNA pol II transcription units but not to the VSG ES promoter or to the 18S rRNA coding region. Interestingly, RPB7 did crosslink to the RRNA promoter but so did the RNA pol II-specific subunit RPB9 suggesting that RNA pol II is recruited to this promoter. Overall, our data led to the conclusion that RNA pol I transcription in T. brucei does not require the RNA pol II subunit RPB7.
Strongyloides and related genera are advantageous subjects for transgenesis in parasitic nematodes, primarily by gonadal microinjection as has been used with Caenorhabditis elegans. Transgenesis has been achieved in S. stercoralis and in Parastrongyloides trichosuri, but both of these lack well-adapted, conventional laboratory hosts in which to derive transgenic lines. By contrast, Strongyloides ratti develops in laboratory rats with high efficiency and offers the added advantages of robust genomic and transcriptomic databases and substantial volumes of genetic, developmental and immunological data. Therefore, we evaluated methodology for transgenesis in S. stercoralis as a means of transforming S. ratti. S. stercoralis-based GFP reporter constructs were expressed in a proportion of F1 transgenic S. ratti following gonadal microinjection into parental free-living females. Frequencies of transgene expression in S. ratti, ranged from 3.7% for pAJ09 to 6.8% for pAJ20; respective frequencies for these constructs in S. stercoralis were 5.6% and 33.5%. Anatomical patterns of transgene expression were virtually identical in S. ratti and S. stercoralis. This is the first report of transgenesis in S. ratti, an important model organism for biological investigations of parasitic nematodes. Availability of the rat as a well-adapted laboratory host will facilitate derivation of transgenic lines of this parasite.
Transgenesis; Strongyloides ratti; parasitic nematode; microinjection; plasmid vector
To identify Toxoplasma gondii genes important in the establishment of a persistent infection, we previously used signature-tagged mutagenesis to identify mutants with reduced cyst numbers in the brains of mice. One of the mutants, 95C5, has an insertion within a predicted six transmembrane domain protein, which localizes to the parasite pellicle, thus we named it transmembrane pellicle protein 1 (TgTPP1). Although the 95C5 mutant was found be reduced in its ability to form brain cysts, it is defective during acute infection. Addition of TgTPP1 expressed from its endogenous promoter restored the acute lethality of the 95C5 mutant to parental levels. The 95C5 mutant does not have a growth defect in standard tissue culture conditions; however, we found a significant defect in host cell penetration after extracellular stress. Overall, TgTPP1 may function during acute infection by enhancing the parasites ability to invade after extracellular stress.
This paper identifies conformational codependence between Plasmodium berghei LCCL proteins by crossing PbLAP1-KO and PbLAP3/GFP parasite lines.
► Co-dependent expression of LCCL proteins appears absent in Plasmodium berghei. ► However, P. berghei LCCL proteins are conformationally co-dependent. ► This mechanism promotes LCCL protein complex formation and stability. ► Conformational co-dependence could be the mechanism behind co-dependent expression.
Malaria parasites express a conserved family of LCCL-lectin adhesive-like domain proteins (LAPs) that have essential functions in sporozoite transmission. In Plasmodium falciparum all six family members are expressed in gametocytes and form a multi-protein complex. Intriguingly, knockout of P. falciparum LCCL proteins adversely affects expression of other family members at protein, but not at mRNA level, a phenomenon termed co-dependent expression. Here, we investigate this in Plasmodium berghei by crossing a PbLAP1 null mutant parasite with a parasite line expressing GFP-tagged PbLAP3 that displays strong fluorescence in gametocytes. Selected and validated double mutants show normal synthesis and subcellular localization of PbLAP3::GFP. However, GFP-based fluorescence is dramatically reduced without PbLAP1 present, indicating that PbLAP1 and PbLAP3 interact. Moreover, absence of PbLAP1 markedly reduces the half-life of PbLAP3, consistent with a scenario of misfolding. These findings unveil a potential mechanism of conformational interdependence that facilitates assembly and stability of the functional LCCL protein complex.
Plasmodium berghei; Crystalloid; GFP; Protein folding; LCCL domain
► General concise introduction into the world of SIR2s. ► Overview of the SIR2 family members’ representation in parasitic protozoa, with phylogenetic classification. ► Summary of findings on SIR2 proteins structure, function and localisation in parasitic protozoa. ► Mention of potential therapies stemming from SIR2 studies in parasitic protozoa.
The SIR2 family of NAD+-dependent protein deacetylases, collectively called sirtuins, has been of central interest due to their proposed roles in life-span regulation and ageing. Sirtuins are one group of environment sensors of a cell interpreting external information and orchestrating internal responses at the sub-cellular level, through participation in gene regulation mechanisms. Remarkably conserved across all kingdoms of life SIR2 proteins in several protozoan parasites appear to have both conserved and intriguing unique functions. This review summarises our current knowledge of the members of the sirtuin families in Apicomplexa, including Plasmodium, and other protozoan parasites such as Trypanosoma and Leishmania. The wide diversity of processes regulated by SIR2 proteins makes them targets worthy of exploitation in anti-parasitic therapies.
sir2; Parasite; Plasmodium; Leishmania; Gene regulation; Antigenic variation
Using the PROSITE database and search tools, we conducted a comprehensive bioinformatic analysis of the predicted protein sequences of the flatworm parasites Schistosoma mansoni and S. japonicum and seven other animal genomes in order to identify novel schistosome-specific features. Our analyses revealed a relative paucity of proline-rich domains in schistosomes in comparison with their human host and a corresponding enrichment in schistosomes of asparagine-rich, serine-rich, and threonine-rich domains. Domain types found in both schistosome species but not in human included the two-component system sensor histidine kinase/response regulator; C83 family peptidase; DyP-type peroxidase; and densovirus NS1-type domain. Unique features of the schistosome proteome may help guide development of new drugs, while the presence of a densovirus-derived protein in S. mansoni suggests that this species may be infected by a virus of this group, which might be useful as a biological control agent.
In the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, global studies of translational regulation have been hampered by the inability to isolate malaria polysomes. We describe here a novel method for polysome profiling in Plasmodium falciparum, a powerful approach which allows both a global view of translation and the measurement of ribosomal loading and density for specific mRNAs. Simultaneous lysis of infected erythrocytes and parasites releases stable, intact malaria polysomes, which are then purified by centrifugation through a sucrose cushion. The polysomes are resuspended, separated by velocity sedimentation and then fractionated, yielding a characteristic polysome profile reflecting the global level of translational activity in the parasite. RNA isolated from specific fractions can be used to determine the density of ribosomes loaded onto a particular transcript of interest, and is free of host ribosome contamination. Thus, our approach opens translational regulation in malaria to genome-wide analysis.
malaria; Plasmodium falciparum; polysome; translation; post-transcriptional regulation; global
Plasmodium falciparum enolase (Pfeno) localizes to the cytosol, nucleus, cell membrane and cytoskeletal elements, suggesting multiple non-glycolytic functions for this protein. Our recent observation of association of enolase with the food vacuole (FV) in immuno-gold electron microscopic images of P. falciparum raised the possibility for yet another moonlighting function for this protein. Here we provide additional support for this localization by demonstrating the presence of Pfeno in purified FVs by immunoblotting. To examine the potential functional role of FV-associated Pfeno, we assessed the ability of Pfeno to complement a mutant Saccharomyces cervisiae strain deficient in enolase activity. In this strain (Tetr-Eno2), the enolase 1 gene is deleted and expression of the enolase 2 gene is under the control of a tetracycline repressible promoter. Enolase deficiency in this strain was previously shown to cause growth retardation, vacuolar fragmentation and altered expression of certain vacuolar proteins. Expression of Pfeno in the enolase-deficient yeast strain restored all three phenotypic effects. However, transformation of Tetr-eno2 with an enzymatically active, monomeric mutant form of Pfeno (Δ5Pfeno) fully restored cell growth, but only partially rescued the fragmented vacuolar phenotype, suggesting that the dimeric structure of Pfeno is required for the optimal vacuolar functions. Bioinformatic searches revealed the presence of Plasmodium orthologs of several yeast vacuolar proteins that are predicted to form complexes with Pfeno. Together, these observations raise the possibility that association of Pfeno with food vacuole in Plasmodium may have physiological function(s).
Plasmodium; Enolase; Food vacuole; Complementation; Yeast Vps63p
The biogenic amine, tyramine (TA), modulates a number of key processes in nematodes and a number of TA-specific receptors have been identified. In the present study we have identified a putative TA receptor (Bm4) in the recently completed Brugia malayi genome and compared its pharmacology to its putative C. elegans orthologue, TYRA-2, under identical expression and assay conditions. TYRA-2 and Bm4 are the most closely related C. elegans and B. malayi BA receptors and differ by only 14 aa in the TM regions directly involved in ligand binding. Membranes from HEK-293 cells stably expressing Bm4 exhibited specific, saturable, high-affinity, [3H]LSD and [3H]TA binding with Kds of 18.1 ± 0.93 nM and 15.1 ± 0.2 nM, respectively. More importantly, both TYRA-2 and Bm4 TA exhibited similar rank orders of potencies for a number of potential tyraminergic ligands. However, some significant differences were noted. For example, chloropromazine exhibited an order of magnitude higher affinity for Bm4 than TYRA-2 (pKis of 7.6 ± 0.2 and 6.49 ± 0.1, respectively). In contrast, TYRA-2 had significantly higher affinity for phentolamine than Bm4. These results highlight the utility of the nearly completed B. malayi genome and the importance of using receptors from individual parasitic nematodes for drug discovery.
Tyramine receptor; nematode; Brugia malayi; Caenorhabditis elegans
Enhancement of the anti-oxidant metabolism of Leishmania parasites, dependent upon the unique dithiol trypanothione, has been implicated in laboratory-generated antimony resistance. Here, the role of the trypanothione-dependent anti-oxidant pathway is studied in antimony-resistant clinical isolates. Elevated levels of tryparedoxin and tryparedoxin peroxidase, key enzymes in hydroperoxide detoxification, were observed in antimonial resistant parasites resulting in an increased metabolism of peroxides. These data suggest that enhanced anti-oxidant defences may play significant in clinical resistance to antimonials.
antimonial resistance; Leishmania donovani; tryparedoxin peroxidase
With one exception (Glikoreijevic et al., Mol. Biochem. Parasitol. 2008; 159: 7 – 23) all previous quantification of chloroquine (CQ) potency vs. P. falciparum has been by growth inhibition assays, meaning potency is defined as cytostatic potential and quantified by IC50 values. In this study we investigate the cytocidal potency of CQ and other common quinoline antimalarial drugs (quantified as LD50). Similar to results from assays for cytostatic potency, we are able to readily distinguish drug resistant from drug sensitive P. falciparum parasites as well as different degrees of resistance. However, we find that fold-resistance to CQ and other quinoline drugs quantified via LD50 ratios differs quite dramatically from fold resistance calculated via IC50 ratios. Also, importantly, we find that verapamil chemoreversal of CQ resistance differs when quantified via cytocidal vs. cytostatic assays, as do patterns of “multidrug” resistance in well-known laboratory strains of P. falciparum. The results have important implications for development of new antimalarial drugs and for fully defining the genetic loci that confer clinically relevant antimalarial drug resistance phenomena.
malaria; drug resistance; verapamil; LD50; SyberGreen; multidrug resistance
RNA interference is the most rapid method for generation of conditional knockdown mutants in Trypanosoma brucei. The dual T7 promoter (pZJM) and the stem-loop vectors have been widely used to generate stable inducible RNAi cell lines with the latter providing tighter regulatory control. However, the steps for cloning stem-loop constructs are cumbersome requiring either multiple cloning steps or multi-fragment ligation reactions. We report the development of a vector (pTrypRNAiGate) derived from pLEW100 that utilizes the Gateway® recombination system to facilitate easy production of hairpin RNA constructs. This approach allows the final stem-loop RNAi construct to be generated from a single cloning step of the PCR-derived gene fragment followed by an in vitro recombination reaction. The new vector facilitates high-throughput applications for gene silencing and provides a tool for functional genomics in T. brucei.
The genome sequence for Schistosoma mansoni has been determined, allowing the complete protein complement to be predicted. However, few functional genomics techniques have been developed for use in S. mansoni, limiting the usefulness of the sequence data. Here we describe a whole mount in situ hybridization (WISH) method that can be used to identify the tissue-specific expression of transcripts in S. mansoni. Using this protocol we determine the tissue-specific expression of tetraspanin 2, a female-enriched tetraspanin, phenol oxidase, the secretory Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase, and an Argonaute family member. The localization of these transcripts by WISH correlates with prior studies performed using immunohistochemistry and/or in situ hybridization on tissue sections. WISH can be adapted to screen multiple transcripts, thus identifying novel targets for drugs or vaccines.
functional genomic tools; Schistosoma; phenol oxidase; tetraspanin; argonaute; superoxide dismutase