Serotonin and melatonin, neurohormones for homeostasis, as novel inhibitors of infections by the intracellular parasite chlamydia.
ABSTRACT Chlamydiae are obligate intracellular bacteria, causing a variety of diseases, i.e. pneumonia, sexually transmitted disease, conjunctivitis and zoonosis. Tryptophan depletion by interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) is the most important host defence system against chlamydial infection. Thus chlamydial tryptophan metabolism is thought to play key roles for IFN-gamma resistance, persistent infection and host/tissue tropisms. We tested tryptophan derivatives for activity against chlamydia-infected cells.
Rates of chlamydial infection and sizes of the inclusions were evaluated by in vitro infection using three Chlamydiaceae species, Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydophila pneumoniae and Chlamydophila felis, which show significant divergence of tryptophan synthesis genes and different susceptibilities to IFN-gamma.
Melatonin and serotonin, which are recognized as neural hormones for maintenance of organism homeostasis, reduced chlamydial infection but not other bacterial growth tested here. Unlike IFN-gamma, melatonin limited infection of all three chlamydiae and the effects were not recovered by tryptophan supplementation. Melatonin treatment only of host cells could diminish infection and the infection reduction was neutralized by a pertussis toxin, an inhibitor of G proteins. Ligands of melatonin and serotonin receptors also hampered infection.
Inhibition mechanisms of chlamydial infection by melatonin and serotonin appear to be different from those of IFN-gamma and involve specific G-protein-coupled receptors. Melatonin is deemed to inhibit early progression of the chlamydial development cycle, such as establishment of intracellular infection and/or conversion from elementary body to reticulate body. Utilization of melatonin, serotonin or their derivatives may be advantageous for harmless prevention of chlamydial infection.
Article: A screen against Leishmania intracellular amastigotes: comparison to a promastigote screen and identification of a host cell-specific hit.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The ability to screen compounds in a high-throughput manner is essential in the process of small molecule drug discovery. Critical to the success of screening strategies is the proper design of the assay, often implying a compromise between ease/speed and a biologically relevant setting. Leishmaniasis is a major neglected disease with limited therapeutic options. In order to streamline efforts for the design of productive drug screens against Leishmania, we compared the efficiency of two screening methods, one targeting the free living and easily cultured promastigote (insect-infective) stage, the other targeting the clinically relevant but more difficult to culture intra-macrophage amastigote (mammal-infective) stage. Screening of a 909-member library of bioactive compounds against Leishmania donovani revealed 59 hits in the promastigote primary screen and 27 in the intracellular amastigote screen, with 26 hits shared by both screens. This suggested that screening against the promastigote stage, although more suitable for automation, fails to identify all active compounds and leads to numerous false positive hits. Of particular interest was the identification of one compound specific to the infective amastigote stage of the parasite. This compound affects intracellular but not axenic parasites, suggesting a host cell-dependent mechanism of action, opening new avenues for anti-leishmanial chemotherapy.PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 07/2011; 5(7):e1253. · 4.69 Impact Factor