[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphoinositide phospholipase C (PI-PLC) plays an essential role in cell signaling. A unique Trypanosoma cruzi PI-PLC (TcPI-PLC) is lipid-modified in its N terminus and localizes to the plasma membrane of amastigotes. Here, we show that TcPI-PLC is located onto the extracellular phase of the plasma membrane of amastigotes and that its N-terminal 20 amino acids are necessary and sufficient to target the fused GFP to the outer surface of the parasite. Mutagenesis of the predicted acylated residues confirmed that myristoylation of a glycine residue in the 2nd position and acyl modification of a cysteine in the 4th but not in the 8th or 15th position of the coding sequence are required for correct plasma membrane localization in T. cruzi epimastigotes or amastigotes. Interestingly, mutagenesis of the cysteine at the 8th position increased its flagellar localization. When expressed as fusion constructs with GFP, the N-terminal 6 and 10 amino acids fused to GFP are predominantly located in the cytosol and concentrated in a compartment that co-localizes with a Golgi complex marker. The N-terminal 20 amino acids of TcPI-PLC associate with lipid rafts when dually acylated. Taken together, these results indicate that N-terminal acyl modifications serve as a molecular addressing system for sending TcPI-PLC to the outer surface of the cell.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(40):30906-17. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have developed a reliable protocol for the serum-free dissociation and culture of spiral ganglion neurons from adult mice, an important animal model for patients with post-lingual hearing loss. Pilot experiments indicated that the viability of spiral ganglion cells in vitro depended critically on the use of Hibernate medium with B27 supplement. With an optimized protocol, we obtained 2 x 10(3) neurons immediately after dissociation, or about one-fifth of those present in the intact spiral ganglion. After four days in culture, 4% of the seeded neurons survived without any exogenous growth factors other than insulin. This yield was highly reproducible in five independent experiments and enabled us to measure systematically the numbers and lengths of the regenerating neurites. Furthermore, the survival rate compared well to the few published protocols for culturing adult spiral ganglion neurons from other species. Enhanced survival and neurite outgrowth upon the addition of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and leukemia inhibitory factor demonstrated that both are potent stimulants for damaged spiral ganglion neurons in adults. This responsiveness to exogenous growth factors suggested that our culture protocol will facilitate the screening of molecular compounds as potential treatments for sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing Research 09/2007; 230(1-2):17-23. · 2.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies in Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, have resulted in the cloning and sequencing of a pair of tandemly linked genes (TcHA1 and TcHA2) that encode P (phospho-intermediate form)-type H+-ATPases with homology to fungal and plant proton-pumping ATPases. In the present study, we demonstrate that these pumps are present in the plasma membrane and intracellular compartments of three different stages of T. cruzi. The main intracellular compartment containing these ATPases in epimastigotes was identified as the reservosome. This identification was achieved by immunofluorescence assays and immunoelectron microscopy showing their co-localization with cruzipain, and by subcellular fractionation and detection of their activity. ATP-dependent proton transport by isolated reservosomes was sensitive to vanadate and insensitive to bafilomycin A1, which is in agreement with the localization of P-type H+-ATPases in these organelles. Analysis by confocal immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that epitope-tagged TcHA1-Ty1 and TcHA2-Ty1 gene products are localized in the reservosomes, whereas the TcHA1-Ty1 gene product is additionally present in the plasma membrane. Immunogold electron microscopy showed the presence of the H+-ATPases in other compartments of the endocytic pathway such as the cytostome and endosomal vesicles, suggesting that in contrast with most cells investigated until now, the endocytic pathway of T. cruzi is acidified by a P-type H+-ATPase.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The asexual development of malaria parasites inside the erythrocyte is accompanied by changes in the composition, structure, and function of the host cell membrane and cytoplasm. The parasite exports a membrane network into the host cytoplasm and several proteins that are inserted into the erythrocyte membrane, although none of these proteins has been shown to have enzymatic activity. We report here that a functional malaria parasite-encoded vacuolar (V)-H(+)-ATPase is exported to the erythrocyte and localized in membranous structures and in the plasma membrane of the infected erythrocyte. This localization was determined by separation of parasite and erythrocyte membranes and determination of enzyme marker activities and by immunofluorescence microscopy assays using antibodies against the B subunit of the malarial V-H(+)-ATPase and erythrocyte (spectrins) and parasite (merozoite surface protein 1) markers. Our results suggest that this pump has a role in the maintenance of the intracellular pH (pH(i)) of the infected erythrocyte. Our results also indicate that although the pH(i) maintained by the V-H(+)-ATPase is important for maximum uptake of small metabolites at equilibrium, it does not appear to affect transport across the erythrocyte membrane and is, therefore, not involved in the previously described phenomenon of increased permeability of infected erythrocytes that is sensitive to chloride channel inhibitors (new permeation pathway). This constitutes the first report of the presence of a functional enzyme of parasite origin in the plasma membrane of its host.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2005; 280(44):36841-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acidocalcisomes are acidic, calcium storage compartments with a H(+) pump located in their membrane that have been described in several unicellular eukaryotes, including trypanosomatid and apicomplexan parasites, algae, and slime molds, and have also been found in the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. In this work, we report that the H(+)-pyrophosphatase (H(+)-PPase) of Rhodospirillum rubrum, the first enzyme of this type that was identified and thought to be localized only to chromatophore membranes, is predominantly located in acidocalcisomes. The identification of the acidocalcisomes of R. rubrum was carried out by using transmission electron microscopy, x-ray microanalysis, and immunofluorescence microscopy. Purification of acidocalcisomes using iodixanol gradients indicated co-localization of the H(+)-PPase with pyrophosphate (PPi) and short and long chain polyphosphates (polyPs) but a lack of markers of the plasma membrane. polyP was also localized to the acidocalcisomes by using 4',6'-diamino-2-phenylindole staining and identified by using 31P NMR and biochemical methods. Calcium in the acidocalcisomes increased when the bacteria were incubated at high extracellular calcium concentrations. The number of acidocalcisomes and chromatophore membranes as well as the amounts of PPi and polyP increased when bacteria were grown in the light. Taken together, these results suggest that the H(+)-PPase of R. rubrum has two distinct roles depending on its location acting as an intracellular proton pump in acidocalcisomes but in PPi synthesis in the chromatophore membranes.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2005; 279(49):51193-202. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the functional characterization of a soluble pyrophosphatase (TbVSP1), which localizes to acidocalcisomes, a vesicular acidic compartment of Trypanosoma brucei. Depending on the pH and the cofactors Mg(2+) or Zn(2+), both present in the compartment, the enzyme hydrolyzes either inorganic pyrophosphate (PP(i)) (k(cat) = 385 s(-1)) or tripolyP (polyP(3)) and polyphosphate (polyP) of 28 residues (polyP(28)) with k(cat) values of 52 and 3.5 s(-1), respectively. An unusual N-terminal domain of 160 amino acids, containing a putative calcium EF-hand-binding domain, is involved in protein oligomerization. Using double-stranded RNA interference methodology, we produced an inducible bloodstream form (BF) deficient in the TbVSP1 protein (BFiVSP1). The long-chain polyP levels of these mutants were reduced by 60%. Their phenotypes revealed a deficient polyP metabolism, as indicated by their defective response to phosphate starvation and hyposmotic stress. BFiVSP1 did not cause acute virulent infection in mice, demonstrating that TbVSP1 is essential for growth of bloodstream forms in the mammalian host.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2004; 279(5):3420-5. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Respiration, membrane potential, and oxidative phosphorylation of mitochondria of Plasmodium yoelii yoelii trophozoites were assayed in situ after permeabilization with digitonin. ADP induced an oligomycin-sensitive transition from resting to phosphorylating respiration in the presence of oxidizable substrates. A functional respiratory chain was demonstrated. In addition, the ability of the parasite to oxidize exogenous NADH, as well as the insensitivity of respiration to rotenone and its sensitivity to flavone, suggested the presence of an alternative NADH-quinone (NADH-Q) oxidoreductase. Rotenone-insensitive respiration and membrane potential generation in the presence of malate suggested the presence of a malate-quinone oxidoreductase. These results are in agreement with the presence of genes in P. yoelii encoding for proteins with homology to NADH-Q oxidoreductases of bacteria, plant, fungi, and protozoa and malate-quinone oxidoreductases of bacteria. The complete inhibition of respiration by antimycin A and cyanide excluded the presence of an alternative oxidase as described in other parasites. An uncoupling effect of fatty acids was partly reversed by bovine serum albumin and GTP but was unaffected by carboxyatractyloside. These results provide the first biochemical evidence of the presence of an alternative NADH-Q oxidoreductase and a malate-quinone oxidoreductase and confirm the operation of oxidative phosphorylation in malaria parasites.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2004; 279(1):385-93. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acidocalcisomes are acidic calcium storage compartments described in several unicellular eukaryotes, including trypanosomatid and apicomplexan parasites, algae, and slime molds. In this work, we report that the volutin granules of Agrobacterium tumefaciens possess properties similar to the acidocalcisomes. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that each intracellular granule was surrounded by a membrane. X-ray microanalysis of the volutin granules showed large amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Calcium in the volutin granules increased when the bacteria were incubated at high extracellular calcium concentration. Immunofluorescence and immunoelectron microscopy, using antisera raised against peptide sequences conserved in the A. tumefaciens proton pyrophosphatase, indicated localization in intracellular vacuoles. Purification of the volutin granules using iodixanol density gradients indicated a preferential localization of the pyrophosphatase activity in addition to high concentrations of phosphate, pyrophosphate, short- and long-chain polyphosphate, but lack of markers of the plasma membrane. The pyrophosphatase activity was potassium-insensitive and inhibited by the pyrophosphate analogs, amynomethylenediphosphonate and imidodiphosphate, by dicyclohexylcarbodiimide, and by the thiol reagent N-ethylmaleimide. Polyphosphate was also localized to the volutin granules by 4',6'-diamino-2-phenylindole staining. The organelles were acidic, as demonstrated by staining with LysoSensor blue DND-167, a dye especially used to detect very acidic compartments in cells, and cycloprodigiosin, a compound isolated from a marine bacterium that has been shown to uncouple proton pyrophosphatase activity acting as a chloride/proton symport. The results suggest that acidocalcisomes arose before the prokaryotic and eukaryotic lineages diverged.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2003; 278(32):29971-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Differentiation of Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes to amastigotes inside myoblasts or in vitro, at low extracellular pH, in the presence of [(3)H]palmitic acid or [(3)H]inositol revealed differential labeling of inositolphosphoceramide and phosphatidylinositol, suggesting that a remodeling process takes place in both lipids. Using (3)H-labeled inositolphosphoceramide and phosphatidylinositol as substrates, we demonstrated the association of at least five enzymatic activities with the membranes of amastigotes and trypomastigotes. These included phospholipase A(1), phospholipase A(2), inositolphosphoceramide-fatty acid hydrolase, acyltransferase, and a phospholipase C releasing either ceramide or a glycerolipid from the inositolphospholipids. These enzymes may be acting in remodeling reactions leading to the anchor of mature glycoproteins or glycoinositolphospholipids and helping in the transformation of the plasma membrane, a necessary step in the differentiation of slender trypomastigotes to round amastigotes. Synthesis of inositolphosphoceramide and particularly of glycoinositolphospholipids was inhibited by aureobasidin A, a known inhibitor of fungal inositolphosphoceramide synthases. The antibiotic impaired the differentiation of trypomastigotes at acidic pH, as indicated by an increased appearance of intermediate forms and a decreased expression of the Ssp4 glycoprotein, a characteristic marker of amastigote forms. Aureobasidin A was also toxic to differentiating trypomastigotes at acidic pH but not to trypomastigotes maintained at neutral pH. Our data suggest that inositolphosphoceramide is implicated in T. cruzi differentiation and that its metabolism could provide important targets for the development of antiparasitic therapies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have reported that protein tyrosine kinases play an important role in the invasion of Trypanosoma cruzi into primary resident macrophages. In the present study we carry out immunofluorescence assays, using monoclonal anti-phosphotyrosine antibodies, to reveal an accumulation of tyrosine-phosphorylated residues at the site of parasite association with the macrophage surface, colocalizing with host cell F-actin-rich domains. SDS-PAGE analysis of macrophage cell line IC-21 tyrosine phosphoproteins, labeled with [(35)S] L-methionine, revealed several peptides with increased levels of phosphorylation upon interaction with the parasite. Among them, were detected bands of 140, 120, 112, 94, 73, 67, and 56 kDa that match the molecular weights of proteins described as being tyrosine phosphorylated during events that lead to actin assembly in mononuclear phagocytes. The pretreatment of IC-21 macrophages with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor tyrphostin 23 inhibited trypomastigote uptake showing that tyrosine phosphorylation is important for the parasite penetration in this particular cell line. Immunofluorescence microscopy, using antibodies against p85, the regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase), placed this enzyme also in the same sites, in accordance to what is reported for phagocytosis. We suggest that once the components of T. cruzi trypomastigotes surface are recognized by macrophage receptors, they trigger the activation of a tyrosine phosphorylation cascade, PI 3-kinase recruitment, and assembly of actin filaments at the site of initial cell-to-cell contact, resembling the events described during phagocytosis. These achievements support the model for a phagocytic-like actin-dependent invasion mechanism for T. cruzi trypomastigotes into macrophages.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the cloning, overexpression, purification, and characterization of the Leishmania major exopolyphosphatase (LmPPX). The product of this gene (LmPPX), the first related to polyphosphate (polyP) metabolism isolated from an eukaryotic organism different from yeast, has 388 amino acids and a molecular mass of 48 kDa. LmPPX differs from other exopolyphosphatases previously investigated. Heterologous expression of LmPPX in Escherichia coli produced a functional enzyme that was similar to the yeast exopolyphosphatase with respect to its Mg(2+) requirement, optimum pH, and sensitivity to cations, amino acids, and heparin but that, in contrast to the yeast enzyme and other exopolyphosphatases investigated before, acts on polyP of short chain lengths with higher rates and affinity. LmPPX is a processive enzyme, and it does not hydrolyze pyrophosphate, ATP, or p-nitrophenylphosphate. Confocal immunofluorescence microscopy using affinity-purified antibodies against the recombinant enzyme indicated an acidocalcisomal and cytosolic localization. High levels of short chain (21.4 +/- 3.0 mm) and long chain polyP (55.9 +/- 5.6 mm) were detected in L. major promastigotes. The unique characteristics of LmPPX and L. major polyP metabolism may facilitate the development of novel antileishmanial agents.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2003; 277(52):50899-906. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mass-dense granules of Dictyostelium discoideum were shown to contain large amounts of phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, as determined by x-ray microanalysis, either in situ or when purified using iodixanol gradient centrifugation. The high phosphorus content was due to the presence of pyrophosphate and polyphosphate, which were also present in the contractile vacuoles. Both organelles also possessed a vacuolar H(+)-ATPase, an H(+)-pyrophosphatase, and a Ca(2+)-ATPase, as determined by biochemical methods or by immunofluorescence microscopy. The H(+)-pyrophosphatase activity of isolated mass-dense granules was stimulated by potassium ions and inhibited by the pyrophosphate analogs aminomethylenediphosphonate and imidodiphosphate and by KF and N-ethylmaleimide in a dose-dependent manner. The mass-dense granules and the contractile vacuole appeared to contact each other when the cells were submitted to hyposmotic stress. Acetazolamide inhibited the carbonic anhydrase activity of the contractile vacuoles and prolonged their contraction cycle in a dose-dependent manner. Similar effects were observed with the anion exchanger inhibitor 4,4' -diisothiocyanatodihydrostilbene-2, 2' -disulfonic acid and the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A(1). Together, these results suggest that the mass-dense granules of D. discoideum are homologous to the acidocalcisomes described in protozoan parasites and are linked to the function of the contractile vacuole.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2002; 277(10):8146-53. · 4.65 Impact Factor