Amino-terminal control of transgenic protein expression levels in Toxoplasma gondii.
ABSTRACT Comparing the steady-state expression levels of recombinant proteins in Toxoplasma gondii parasites indicates considerable variability, and this has sometimes caused difficulties in the engineering of transgenic parasites. Anecdotal observations suggested that alteration of the N-terminus, e.g. by engineering as a fusion protein, permits stable expression of various transgenes that were previously difficult to express in their native form. We have exploited the sensitivity and quantitative nature of fire-fly luciferase (LUC) to examine expression levels in further detail. Fusing the 26 N-terminal residues derived from chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (DeltaCAT) to LUC permits efficient transient or stable luciferase expression in transgenic parasite tachyzoites, providing a useful reporter for studies in T. gondii. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to alter the second codon of DeltaCAT-LUC to encode all 20 possible amino acids, and these constructs showed that changes in the second amino acid can have dramatic effects on luciferase activity, with Ala, Glu, and Asp codons yielding the highest expression levels. Similar results were observed for the expression of both GFP and the T. gondii HXGPRT gene, demonstrating the generality of this effect.
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ABSTRACT: Cryptosporidium parvum is a member of the Apicomplexa that lacks a plastid and associated nuclear-encoded genes, which has hampered its use in evolutionary comparisons with algae and eliminated a pool of potentially useful drug targets. Here we show that apicomplexan parasites possess an unusual family of class II histone deacetylase (HDAC) proteins with orthologues that are present in other chromalveolates and primitive algae. A striking feature of these HDAC proteins is the presence of ankyrin repeats in the amino-terminus that appear to be required for enzyme activity. In vitro and in vivo analyses of the C. parvum orthologue indicate that this subclass of chromatin-remodelling proteins is targeted by the anti-cancer drug suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid and that these proteins are most likely involved in the essential process of H4 histone deacetylation that coincides with DNA replication. We propose that members of this novel class of histone deacetylase can serve as promising new targets for treatments against debilitating diseases such as cryptosporidosis, toxoplasmosis and malaria.International Journal for Parasitology 06/2009; · 3.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In the more than 100 years since its discovery, our knowledge of Toxoplasma biology has improved enormously. The evolution of molecular biology, immunology and genomics has had profound influences on our understanding of this ubiquitous bug. However, it could be argued that in science today the adage "seeing is believing" has never been truer. Images are highly influential and in the time since the first description of T. gondii, advances in microscopy and imaging technology have been and continue to be dramatic. In this review we recount the discovery of T. gondii and the contribution of imaging techniques to elucidating its life cycle, biology and the immune response of its host.Parasites & Vectors 11/2013; 6(1):334. · 3.25 Impact Factor