[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The parasite Trypanosoma brucei possesses a large family of transmembrane receptor-like adenylate cyclases. Activation of these enzymes requires the dimerization of the catalytic domain and typically occurs under stress. Using a dominant-negative strategy, we found that reducing adenylate cyclase activity by about 50% allowed trypanosome growth but reduced the parasite's ability to control the early innate immune defense of the host. Specifically, activation of trypanosome adenylate cyclase resulting from parasite phagocytosis by liver myeloid cells inhibited the synthesis of the trypanosome-controlling cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α through activation of protein kinase A in these cells. Thus, adenylate cyclase activity of lyzed trypanosomes favors early host colonization by live parasites. The role of adenylate cyclases at the host-parasite interface could explain the expansion and polymorphism of this gene family.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antigenic variation of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei operates by monoallelic expression of a variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) from a collection of multiple telomeric expression sites (ESs). Each of these ESs harbours a long polycistronic transcription unit containing several expression site-associated genes (ESAGs). ESAG4 copies encode bloodstream stage-specific adenylyl cyclases (AC) and belong to a larger gene family of around 80 members, the majority of which, termed genes related to ESAG4 (GRESAG4s), are not encoded in ESs and are expressed constitutively in the life cycle. Here we report that ablation of ESAG4 from the active ES did not affect parasite growth, neither in culture nor upon rodent infection, and did not significantly change total AC activity. In contrast, inducible RNAi-mediated knock-down of an AC subfamily that includes ESAG4 and two ESAG4-like GRESAG4 (ESAG4L) genes, decreased total AC activity and induced a lethal phenotype linked to impaired cytokinesis. In the Δesag4 line compensatory upregulation of apparently functionally redundant ESAG4L genes was observed, suggesting that the ESAG4/ESAG4L-subfamily ACs are involved in the control of cell division. How deregulated adenylyl cyclases or cAMP might impair cytokinesis is discussed.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Very little is known about cell cycle-dependent regulation of mRNA in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative agent of African sleeping sickness. Methods to synchronize cell cycle progression are inefficient or subject the parasites to non-physiological conditions and stress. We developed a fluorescence-activated cell sorting-based method to analyze steady-state mRNA levels in individual cell cycle phases. Normalization of the data was the most challenging problem because internal standards for cell cycle-regulated genes are not available for trypanosomes. Hence, we introduced an external standard (so-called "spike") to compensate for technically derived variations in processing cells and RNA samples. Validation of this method with a limited number of genes unraveled a transient up-regulation during S and G2/M phases for all mRNAs analyzed.
Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 10/2010; 175(2):205-8. · 2.73 Impact Factor