Toxoplasma ISP4 is a central IMC Sub-compartment Protein whose localization depends on palmitoylation but not myristoylation

Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1489, USA.
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.24). 05/2012; 184(2):99-108. DOI: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2012.05.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Apicomplexan parasites utilize a peripheral membrane system called the inner membrane complex (IMC) to facilitate host cell invasion and parasite replication. We recently identified a novel family of Toxoplasma IMC Sub-compartment Proteins (ISP1/2/3) that localize to sub-domains of the IMC using a targeting mechanism that is dependent on coordinated myristoylation and palmitoylation of a series of residues in the N-terminus of the protein. While the precise functions of the ISPs are unknown, deletion of ISP2 results in replication defects, suggesting that this family of proteins plays a role in daughter cell formation. Here we have characterized a fourth ISP family member (ISP4) and discovered that this protein localizes to the central IMC sub-compartment, similar to ISP2. Like ISP1/3, ISP4 is dispensable for the tachyzoite lytic cycle as the disruption of ISP4 does not produce any gross replication or growth defects. Surprisingly, targeting of ISP4 to the IMC membranes is dependent on residues predicted for palmitoylation but not myristoylation, setting its trafficking apart from the other ISP proteins and demonstrating distinct mechanisms of protein localization to the IMC membranes, even within a family of highly related proteins.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are refined, rapidly responsive and powerful ways to modulate protein function. Among PTMs, acylation is now emerging as a widespread modification exploited by eukaryotes, bacteria and viruses to control biological processes. Protein palmitoylation involves the attachment of palmitic acid, also known as hexadecanoic acid, to cysteine residues of integral and peripheral membrane proteins and increases their affinity for membranes. Importantly, similar to phosphorylation, palmitoylation is reversible and is becoming recognised as instrumental for the regulation of protein function by modulating protein interactions, stability, folding, trafficking and signalling. Palmitoylation appears to play a central role in the biology of the Apicomplexa, regulating critical processes such as host cell invasion which is vital for parasite survival and dissemination. The recent identification of over 400 palmitoylated proteins in Plasmodium falciparum erythrocytic stages illustrates the broad spread and impact of this modification on parasite biology. The main enzymes responsible for protein palmitoylation are multi-membrane protein S-acyl transferases (PATs) harbouring a catalytic Asp-His-His-Cys (DHHC) motif. A global functional analysis of the repertoire of PATs in Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium berghei has recently been performed. The essential nature of some of these enzymes illustrates the key roles played by this PTM in the corresponding substrates implicated in fundamental processes such as parasite motility and organelle biogenesis. Toward a better understanding of the depalmitoylation event, a protein with palmitoyl protein thioesterase (PPT) activity has been identified in T. gondii. TgPPT1/TgASH1 is the main target of specific acyl protein thioesterase inhibitors but is dispensable for parasite survival, suggesting the implication of other genes in depalmitoylation. Palmitoylation/depalmitoylation cycles are now emerging as potential novel regulatory networks and T. gondii represents a superb model organism in which to explore their significance.
    International journal for parasitology 10/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.ijpara.2013.09.004 · 3.40 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite and the causative agent of toxoplasmosis. Protein palmitoylation is known to play roles in signal transduction and in enhancing the hydrophobicity of proteins thus contributing to their membrane association. Global inhibition of protein palmitoylation has been shown to affect T. gondii physiology and invasion of the host cell. However, the proteins affected by this modification have been understudied. This paper shows that the small heat shock protein 20 from T. gondii (TgHSP20) is synthesized as a mature protein in the cytosol and is palmitoylated in three cysteine residues. However, its localization at the inner membrane complex (IMC) is dependent only on N-terminal palmitoylation. Absence or incomplete N-terminal palmitoylation causes TgHSP20 to partially accumulate in a membranous structure. Interestingly, TgHSP20 palmitoylation is not responsible for its interaction with the daughter cells IMCs. Together, our data describe the importance of palmitoylation in protein targeting to the IMC in T. gondii.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 02/2013; 1833(6). DOI:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2013.02.022 · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cell division across members of the protozoan parasite phylum Apicomplexa displays a surprising diversity between different species as well as between different life stages of the same parasite. In most cases, infection of a host cell by a single parasite results in the formation of a polyploid cell from which individual daughters bud in a process dependent on a final round of mitosis. Unlike other apicomplexans, Toxoplasma gondii divides by a binary process consisting of internal budding that results in only two daughter cells per round of division. Since T. gondii is experimentally accessible and displays the simplest division mode, it has manifested itself as a model for apicomplexan daughter formation. Here, we review newly emerging insights in the prominent role that assembly of the cortical cytoskeletal scaffold plays in the process of daughter parasite formation.
    International review of cell and molecular biology 01/2012; 298:1-31. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-394309-5.00001-8 · 4.52 Impact Factor