Apicomplexan rhomboids have a potential role in microneme protein cleavage during host cell invasion.
ABSTRACT Apicomplexan parasites secrete transmembrane (TM) adhesive proteins as part of the process leading to host cell attachment and invasion. These microneme proteins are cleaved in their TM domains by an unidentified protease termed microneme protein protease 1 (MPP1). The cleavage site sequence (IA downward arrowGG), mapped in the Toxoplasma gondii microneme proteins TgMIC2 and TgMIC6, is conserved in microneme proteins of other apicomplexans including Plasmodium species. We report here the characterisation of novel T. gondii proteins belonging to the rhomboid family of intramembrane-cleaving serine proteases. T. gondii possesses six genes encoding rhomboid-like proteins. Four are localised along the secretory pathway and therefore constitute possible candidates for MPP1 activity. Toxoplasma rhomboids TgROM1, TgROM2 and TgROM5 cleave the TM domain of Drosophila Spitz, an established substrate for rhomboids from several species, demonstrating that they are active proteases. In addition, TgROM2 cleaves chimeric proteins that contain the TM domains of TgMIC2 and TgMIC12.
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ABSTRACT: Malaria continues to be one of the most severe global infectious diseases, responsible for 1-2 million deaths yearly. The rapid evolution and spread of drug resistance in parasites has led to an urgent need for the development of novel antimalarial targets. Proteases are a group of enzymes that play essential roles in parasite growth and invasion. The possibility of designing specific inhibitors for proteases makes them promising drug targets. Previously, combining a comparative genomics approach and a machine learning approach, we identified the complement of proteases (degradome) in the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and its sibling species 123, providing a catalog of targets for functional characterization and rational inhibitor design. Network analysis represents another route to revealing the role of proteins in the biology of parasites and we use this approach here to expand our understanding of the systems involving the proteases of P. falciparum. We investigated the roles of proteases in the parasite life cycle by constructing a network using protein-protein association data from the STRING database 4, and analyzing these data, in conjunction with the data from protein-protein interaction assays using the yeast 2-hybrid (Y2H) system 5, blood stage microarray experiments 678, proteomics 9101112, literature text mining, and sequence homology analysis. Seventy-seven (77) out of 124 predicted proteases were associated with at least one other protein, constituting 2,431 protein-protein interactions (PPIs). These proteases appear to play diverse roles in metabolism, cell cycle regulation, invasion and infection. Their degrees of connectivity (i.e., connections to other proteins), range from one to 143. The largest protease-associated sub-network is the ubiquitin-proteasome system which is crucial for protein recycling and stress response. Proteases are also implicated in heat shock response, signal peptide processing, cell cycle progression, transcriptional regulation, and signal transduction networks. Our network analysis of proteases from P. falciparum uses a so-called guilt-by-association approach to extract sets of proteins from the proteome that are candidates for further study. Novel protease targets and previously unrecognized members of the protease-associated sub-systems provide new insights into the mechanisms underlying parasitism, pathogenesis and virulence.BMC Genomics 12/2011; 12 Suppl 5:S9. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Rhomboid proteases are the largest family of enzymes that hydrolyze peptide bonds within the cell membrane. Although discovered to be serine proteases only a decade ago, rhomboid proteases are already considered to be the best understood intramembrane proteases. The presence of rhomboid proteins in all domains of life emphasizes their importance but makes their evolutionary history difficult to chart with confidence. Phylogenetics nevertheless offers three guiding principles for interpreting rhomboid function. The near ubiquity of rhomboid proteases across evolution suggests broad, organizational roles that are not directly essential for cell survival. Functions have been deciphered in only about a dozen organisms and fall into four general categories: initiating cell signaling in animals, facilitating bacterial quorum sensing, regulating mitochondrial homeostasis, and dismantling adhesion complexes of parasitic protozoa. Although in no organism has the full complement of rhomboid function yet been elucidated, links to devastating human disease are emerging rapidly, including to Parkinson's disease, type II diabetes, cancer, and bacterial and malaria infection. Rhomboid proteases are unlike most proteolytic enzymes, because they are membrane-immersed; understanding how the membrane immersion affects their function remains a key challenge.Genome biology 10/2011; 12(10):231. · 6.63 Impact Factor
Article: Intramembrane proteolysis of Toxoplasma apical membrane antigen 1 facilitates host-cell invasion but is dispensable for replication.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) is a conserved transmembrane adhesin of apicomplexan parasites that plays an important role in host-cell invasion. Toxoplasma gondii AMA1 (TgAMA1) is secreted onto the parasite surface and subsequently released by proteolytic cleavage within its transmembrane domain. To elucidate the function of TgAMA1 intramembrane proteolysis, we used a heterologous cleavage assay to characterize the determinants within the TgAMA1 transmembrane domain (ALIAGLAVGGVLLLALLGGGCYFA) that govern its processing. Quantitative analysis revealed that the TgAMA1(L/G) mutation enhanced cleavage by 13-fold compared with wild type. In contrast, the TgAMA1(AG/FF) mutation reduced cleavage by 30-fold, whereas the TgAMA1(GG/FF) mutation had a minor effect on proteolysis; mutating both motifs in a quadruple mutant blocked cleavage completely. We then complemented a TgAMA1 conditional knockout parasite line with plasmids expressing these TgAMA1 variants. Contrary to expectation, variants that increased or decreased TgAMA1 processing by >10-fold had no phenotypic consequences, revealing that the levels of rhomboid proteolysis in parasites are not delicately balanced. Only parasites transgenically expressing or carrying a true knock-in allele of the uncleavable TgAMA1(AG/FF+GG/FF) mutant showed a growth defect, which resulted from inhibiting invasion without perturbing intracellular replication. These data demonstrate that TgAMA1 cleavage plays a role in invasion, but refute a recently proposed model in which parasite replication within the host cell is regulated by intramembrane proteolysis of TgAMA1.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2012; 109(19):7463-8. · 9.68 Impact Factor