[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TgMIC6, TgMIC7, TgMIC8 and TgMIC9 are members of a novel family of transmembrane proteins localized in the micronemes of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. These proteins contain multiple epidermal growth factor-like domains, a putative transmembrane spanning domain and a short cytoplasmic tail. Sorting signals to the micronemes are encoded in this short tail. We established previously that TgMIC6 serves as an escorter for two soluble adhesins, TgMIC1 and TgMIC4. Here, we present the characterization of TgMIC6 and three additional members of this family, TgMIC7, -8 and -9. Consistent with having sorting signals localized in its C-terminal tail, TgMIC6 exhibits a classical type I membrane topology during its transport along the secretory pathway and during storage in the micronemes. TgMIC6 is processed at the N-terminus, probably in the trans-Golgi network, and the cleavage site has been precisely mapped. Additionally, like other members of the thrombospondin-related anonymous protein family, TgMIC2, TgMIC6 and TgMIC8 are proteolytically cleaved near their C-terminal domain upon discharge by micronemes. We also provide evidence that TgMIC8 escorts another recently described soluble adhesin, TgMIC3. This suggests that the existence of microneme protein complexes is not an exception but rather the rule. TgMIC6 and TgMIC8 are expressed in the rapidly dividing tachyzoites, while TgMIC7 and TgMIC9 genes are predominantly expressed in bradyzoites, where they presumably also serve as escorters.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In apicomplexan parasites, actin-disrupting drugs and the inhibitor of myosin heavy chain ATPase, 2,3-butanedione monoxime, have been shown to interfere with host cell invasion by inhibiting parasite gliding motility. We report here that the actomyosin system of Toxoplasma gondii also contributes to the process of cell division by ensuring accurate budding of daughter cells. T. gondii myosins B and C are encoded by alternatively spliced mRNAs and differ only in their COOH-terminal tails. MyoB and MyoC showed distinct subcellular localizations and dissimilar solubilities, which were conferred by their tails. MyoC is the first marker selectively concentrated at the anterior and posterior polar rings of the inner membrane complex, structures that play a key role in cell shape integrity during daughter cell biogenesis. When transiently expressed, MyoB, MyoC, as well as the common motor domain lacking the tail did not distribute evenly between daughter cells, suggesting some impairment in proper segregation. Stable overexpression of MyoB caused a significant defect in parasite cell division, leading to the formation of extensive residual bodies, a substantial delay in replication, and loss of acute virulence in mice. Altogether, these observations suggest that MyoB/C products play a role in proper daughter cell budding and separation.
The Journal of Cell Biology 12/2001; 155(4):613-23. DOI:10.1083/jcb.200012116 · 9.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The obligate intracellular protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii has a single tubular mitochondrion. During infection, it recruits the host cell's mitochondria abutting to the intracellular vacuole, that contains the parasites. The respective contribution of host and parasitic mitochondria in the intracellular growth of T. gondii remains unknown. Heat shock protein, HSP60 has been reported in all eukaryotes examined, as an essential chaperone required for the folding and multimeric complex assembly of mitochondrial proteins. Here, we report the isolation and molecular characterization of two cDNAs corresponding to a single T. gondii gene coding for HSP60. Using a model fusion protein, preHSP60-chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT), we demonstrate that the classical 22 amino acid mitochondrial presequence and the adjacent 32 amino acids of the mature protein are both required for the in vivo import into T. gondii mitochondria. The T. gondii HSP60 gene composed of five introns and six exons is transcribed into two related but differently spliced transcripts. Whereas the two transcripts can be detected in both developmental stages within the intermediate host, their levels are significantly increased in bradyzoites when compared to tachyzoites. By immunoblot analysis, the predicted 60-kDa protien corresponding to HSP60 was detected in both tachyzoite and bradyzoite forms. Using immunofluorescence assays. the polyclonal antibodies specific to T. gondii HSP60 recognized the mitochondrion in tachyzoites, as expected. In contrast, these antibodies reacted against two unknown vesicular bodies which are distinct from the classical mitochondrial pattern in bradyzoites. Taken together. these expression patterns of mitochondrial chaperone HSP60 suggests stage-specific induction of the respiratory pathway in the protozoan parasite T. gondii.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A genomic region of 12 kb encompassing the gene encoding the superoxide dismutase (SOD) of Toxoplasma gondii has been cloned. The gene contains four exons of 121, 42, 381 and 59 bp which are separated by three introns of 321, 202, and 577 bp, respectively. The open reading frame can be translated into a protein of 201 amino acids with a molecular mass of 22.6 kDa. Alignment indicated that it is a FeSOD, a type only found in bacteria, protozoa and chloroplast of higher plants. Recombinant SOD was expressed in a Escherichia coli double mutant lacking both MnFeSOD and FeSODs. The presence of iron as metal cofactor was confirmed by measurements of iron by absorption mass spectrometry and electron paramagnetic resonance studies. Semi-quantitative reverse transcribed polymerase chain reaction experiments showed a similar amount of SOD transcripts in two developmental stages of T. gondii. Antibodies raised against the purified recombinant protein detected SOD protein in both bradyzoite and tachyzoite forms suggesting this SOD might be essential for the intracellular growth of both developmental stages. Southern blot analysis indicated that SOD occured as a single copy gene in T. gondii genome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recent discovery of a vestigial, nonphotosynthetic plastid ("apicoplast") in the Apicomplexa has considerably modified our perception of the evolutionary origin of these parasites. Phylogenetic analysis and the presence of four surrounding membranes of the apicoplast provide important support for the hypothesis that apicomplexans have acquired their apicoplast by secondary endosymbiosis, probably from a green alga. This suggests that genes encoding predicted homologs of proteins of green algae or related photosynthetic lineages could have entered the nucleus of apicomplexan parasites by transfer from the ancestor harboring the apicoplast. We describe here complementary DNAs encoding two Toxoplasma gondii glycolytic enzymes, glucose-6-phosphate isomerase (G6-PI) and enolase, which have considerable identities with land plant counterparts. Both cDNAs of T. gondii complement Escherichia coli mutants lacking G6-PI and enolase genes and lead to the expression of active enzymes. In the drug untreatable encysted bradyzoites of T. gondii, G6-PI and enolase genes are overexpressed or exclusively expressed at both transcriptional and protein levels. Moreover, three-dimensional models and protein phylogeny confirmed that G6-PIs and enolases of T. gondii, Plasmodium falciparum, and land plants are closely related. Because these glycolytic enzymes are plant homologs, which differ from those of animals, they will be useful to trace the evolutionary origin of Apicomplexa and might offer novel chemotherapeutic targets in diseases caused by apicomplexan parasites.