Christian R S Reis

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Publications (6)22.63 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) recognizes the mRNA cap structure and, together with eIF4G and eIF4A, form the eIF4F complex that regulates translation initiation in eukaryotes. In trypanosomatids, two eIF4E homologues (EIF4E3 and EIF4E4) have been shown to be part of eIF4F-like complexes with presumed roles in translation initiation. Both proteins possess unique N-terminal extensions, which can be targeted for phosphorylation. Here, we provide novel insights on the Leishmania infantum EIF4E4 function and regulation. We show that EIF4E4 is constitutively expressed throughout the parasite development but is preferentially phosphorylated in exponentially grown promastigote and amastigote life stages, hence correlating with high levels of translation. Phosphorylation targets multiple serine-proline or threonine-proline residues within the N-terminal extension of EIF4E4 but does not require binding to the EIF4E4's partner, EIF4G3, or to the cap structure. We also report that EIF4E4 interacts with PABP1 through three conserved boxes at the EIF4E4 N-terminus and that this interaction is a prerequisite for efficient EIF4E4 phosphorylation. EIF4E4 is essential for Leishmania growth and an EIF4E4 null mutant was only obtained in the presence of an ectopically provided wild type gene. Complementation for the loss of EIF4E4 with several EIF4E4 mutant proteins affecting either phosphorylation or binding to mRNA or to EIF4E4 protein partners revealed that, in contrast to other eukaryotes, only the EIF4E4-PABP1 interaction but neither the binding to EIF4G3 nor phosphorylation is essential for translation. These studies also demonstrated that the lack of both EIF4E4 phosphorylation and EIF4G3 binding leads to a non-functional protein. Altogether, these findings further highlight the unique features of the translation initiation process in trypanosomatid protozoa.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · RNA biology
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    ABSTRACT: The eukaryotic eIF4F complex, the cap binding complex, functions during translation initiation through interactions mediated by its three subunits (eIF4E, eIF4G and eIF4A), other initiation factors and the ribosome. In trypanosomatids, various eIF4E and eIF4G homologues were identified, with two eIF4F-like complexes confirmed (EIF4E4/EIF4G3/EIF4AI and EIF4E3/EIF4G4/EIF4AI). Here, the expression pattern of these complexes was investigated during Leishmania amazonensis and Trypanosoma brucei growth. The two sets of eIF4E and eIF4G homologues were found represented by phosphorylated isoforms with multiple phosphorylation events targeting the two eIF4E homologues. Expression of these multiple isoforms was differentially affected by inhibitors of mRNA synthesis/processing and translation. Phosphorylated EIF4E4 was consistently associated with early/active growth phases in both organisms studied. In T. brucei phosphorylation of both EIF4E3 and 4, overexpressed as HA-tagged fusions, was partially mapped to their N-terminuses. Our results indicate that phosphorylation is associated with a further layer of complexity in translation initiation in trypanosomatids.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2013 · Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology
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    ABSTRACT: Translation initiation in eukaryotes requires eIF4E, the cap binding protein, which mediates its function through an interaction with the scaffolding protein eIF4G, as part of the eIF4F complex. In trypanosomatids, four eIF4E homologues have been described but the specific function of each is not well characterized. Here, we report a study of these proteins in Trypanosoma brucei (TbEIF4E1 through 4). At the sequence level, they can be assigned to two groups: TbEIF4E1 and 2, similar in size to metazoan eIF4E1; and TbEIF4E3 and 4, with long N-terminal extensions. All are constitutively expressed, but whilst TbEIF4E1 and 2 localize to both the nucleus and cytoplasm, TbEIF4E3 and 4 are strictly cytoplasmic and are also more abundant. After knockdown through RNAi, TbEIF4E3 was the only homologue confirmed to be essential for viability of the insect procyclic form. In contrast, TbEIF4E1, 3 and 4 were all essential for the mammalian bloodstream form. Simultaneous RNAi knockdown of TbEIF4E1 and 2 caused cessation of growth and death in procyclics, but with a delayed impact on translation, whilst knockdown of TbEIF4E3 alone or a combined TbEIF4E1 and 4 knockdown led to substantial translation inhibition which preceded cellular death by several days, at least. Only TbEIF4E3 and 4 were found to interact with T. brucei eIF4G homologues; TbEIF4E3 bound both TbEIF4G3 and 4 whilst TbEIF4E4 bound only to TbEIF4G3. These results are consistent with TbEIF4E3 and 4 having distinct but relevant roles in initiation of protein synthesis.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2011 · Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology
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    ABSTRACT: Trypanosomatid protozoans are reliant on posttranscriptional processes to control gene expression. Regulation occurs at the levels of mRNA processing, stability, and translation, events that may require the participation of the poly(A) binding protein (PABP). Here, we have undertaken a functional study of the three distinct Leishmania major PABP (LmPABP) homologues: the previously described LmPABP1; LmPABP2, orthologous to the PABP described from Trypanosoma species; and LmPABP3, unique to Leishmania. Sequence identity between the three PABPs is no greater than 40%. In assays measuring binding to A-rich sequences, LmPABP1 binding was poly(A) sensitive but heparin insensitive; LmPABP2 binding was heparin sensitive and less sensitive to poly(A), compatible with unique substitutions observed in residues implicated in poly(A) binding; and LmPABP3 displayed intermediate properties. All three homologues are simultaneously expressed as abundant cytoplasmic proteins in L. major promastigotes, but only LmPABP1 is present as multiple isoforms. Upon transcription inhibition, LmPABP2 and -3 migrated to the nucleus, while LmPABP1 remained predominantly cytoplasmic. Immunoprecipitation assays showed an association between LmPABP2 and -3. Although the three proteins bound to a Leishmania homologue of the translation initiation factor eukaryotic initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) (LmEIF4G3) in vitro, LmPABP1 was the only one to copurify with native LmEIF4G3 from cytoplasmic extracts. Functionality was tested using RNA interference (RNAi) in Trypanosoma brucei, where both orthologues to LmPABP1 and -2 are required for cellular viability. Our results indicate that these homologues have evolved divergent functions, some of which may be unique to the trypanosomatids, and reinforces a role for LmPABP1 in translation through its interaction with the eIF4G homologue.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Eukaryotic Cell
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    ABSTRACT: Protozoan parasites belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae are characterized by an unusual pathway for the production of mRNAs via polycistronic transcription and trans-splicing of a 5′ capped mini-exon which is linked to the 3′ cleavage and polyadenylation of the upstream transcript. However, little is known of the mechanism of protein synthesis in these organisms, despite their importance as agents of a number of human diseases. Here we have investigated the role of two Trypanosoma brucei homologues of the translation initiation factor eIF4A (in the light of subsequent experiments these were named as TbEIF4AI and TbEIF4AIII). eIF4A, a DEAD-box RNA helicase, is a subunit of the translation initiation complex eIF4F which binds to the cap structure of eukaryotic mRNA and recruits the small ribosomal subunit. TbEIF4AI is a very abundant predominantly cytoplasmic protein (over 1 × 105 molecules/cell) and depletion to ∼10% of normal levels through RNA interference dramatically reduces protein synthesis one cell cycle following double-stranded RNA induction and stops cell proliferation. In contrast, TbEIF4AIII is a nuclear, moderately expressed protein (∼1–2 × 104 molecules/cell), and its depletion stops cellular proliferation after approximately four cell cycles. Ectopic expression of a dominant negative mutant of TbEIF4AI, but not of TbEIF4AIII, induced a slow growth phenotype in transfected cells. Overall, our results suggest that only TbEIF4AI is involved in protein synthesis while the properties and sequence of TbEIF4AIII indicate that it may be the orthologue of eIF4AIII, a component of the exon junction complex in mammalian cells.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Nucleic Acids Research
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    ABSTRACT: In eukaryotes protein synthesis initiates with the binding of the multimeric translation initiation complex eIF4F - eIF4E, eIF4A and eIF4G - to the monomethylated cap present on the 5' end of mRNAs. eIF4E interacts directly with the cap nucleotide, while eIF4A is a highly conserved RNA helicase and eIF4G acts as a scaffold for the complex with binding sites for both eIF4E and eIF4A. eIF4F binding to the mRNA recruits the small ribosomal subunit to its 5' end. Little is known in detail of protein synthesis in the protozoan parasites belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae. However, the presence of the highly modified cap structure, cap4, and the spliced leader sequence on the 5' ends of all mRNAs suggests possible differences in mRNA recruitment by ribosomes. We identified several potential eIF4F homologues by searching Leishmania major databases: four eIF4Es (LmEIF4E1-4), two eIF4As (LmEIF4A1-2) and five eIF4Gs (LmEIF4G1-5). We report the initial characterisation of LmEIF4E1-3, LmEIF4A1-2 and LmEIF4G3. First, the expression of these proteins in L. major promastigotes was quantitated by Western blotting using isoform specific antibodies. LmEIF4A1 and LmEIF4E3 are very abundant, LmEIF4G3 is moderately abundant and LmEIF4E1/LmEIF4E2/LmEIF4A2 are rare or not detected. In cap-binding assays, only LmEIF4E1 bound to the 7-methyl-GTP-Sepharose resin. Molecular modelling confirmed that LmEIF4E1 has all the structural features of a cap-binding protein. Finally, pull-down assays were used to investigate the potential interaction between the eIF4A (LmEIF4A1/LmEIF4A2) and eIF4G (LmEIF4G1-3) homologues. Only LmEIF4G3, via the HEAT domain, bound specifically both to LmEIF4A1 as well as to human eIF4A. Therefore for each factor, one of the L. major forms seems to fulfil, in part at least, the expected characteristics of a translational initiation factor.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2005 · Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology

Publication Stats

133 Citations
22.63 Total Impact Points


  • 2011
    • Fundação Oswaldo Cruz
      Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 2010
    • University of Cambridge
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2005
    • Federal University of Pernambuco
      • Department of Genetics
      Arrecife, Pernambuco, Brazil