[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a pro-inflammatory molecule in mammals, which unusually, for a cytokine exhibits tautomerase and oxidoreductase enzymatic activities. Homologues of this well conserved protein are found within diverse phyla including a number of parasitic organisms. Herein, we produced recombinant histidine-tagged Toxoplasma gondii MIF (TgMIF), a 12kDa protein that lacks oxidoreductase activity, but exhibits tautomerase activity with a specific activity of 19.3μmol/min/mg that cannot be inhibited by the human MIF inhibitor ISO-1. The crystal structure of the TgMIF homotrimer has been determined to 1.82 Å and, although it has close structural homology with mammalian MIFs, it has critical differences in the tautomerase active site that account for the different inhibitor sensitivity. We also demonstrate that TgMIF can elicit IL-8 production from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells whilst also activating ERK-MAPK pathways in murine bone marrow derived macrophages. TgMIF may therefore play an immunomodulatory role during T. gondii infection in mammals.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii ( T. gondii ) is an apicomplexan parasite that can cause eye disease, brain disease, and death, especially in congenitally infected and immune-compromised people. Novel medicines effective against both active and latent forms of the parasite are greatly needed. The current study focused on the discovery of such medicines by exploring a family of potential inhibitors whose antiapicomplexan activity has not been previously reported. Initial screening efforts revealed that niclosamide, a drug approved for anthelmintic use, possessed promising activity in vitro against T. gondii . This observation inspired the evaluation of the activity of a series of salicylanilides and derivatives. Several inhibitors with activities in the nanomolar range with no appreciable in vitro toxicity to human cells were identified. An initial structure-activity relationship was explored. Four compounds were selected for evaluation in an in vivo model of infection, and two derivatives with potentially enhanced pharmacological parameters demonstrated the best activity profiles.
No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that can damage the human brain and eyes. There are no curative medicines. Herein, we describe our
discovery of N-benzoyl-2-hydroxybenzamides as a class of compounds effective in the low nanomolar range against T. gondii in vitro and in vivo. Our lead compound, QQ-437, displays robust activity against the parasite and could be useful as a new scaffold for development
of novel and improved inhibitors of T. gondii. Our genome-wide investigations reveal a specific mechanism of resistance to N-benzoyl-2-hydroxybenzamides mediated by adaptin-3β, a large protein from the secretory protein complex. N-Benzoyl-2-hydroxybenzamide-resistant clones have alterations of their secretory pathway, which traffics proteins to micronemes,
rhoptries, dense granules, and acidocalcisomes/plant-like vacuole (PLVs). N-Benzoyl-2-hydroxybenzamide treatment also alters micronemes, rhoptries, the contents of dense granules, and, most markedly,
acidocalcisomes/PLVs. Furthermore, QQ-437 is active against chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. Our studies reveal a novel class of compounds that disrupts a unique secretory pathway of T. gondii, with the potential to be used as scaffolds in the search for improved compounds to treat the devastating diseases caused
by apicomplexan parasites.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of CD8(+) T cells to act as cytolytic effectors and produce interferon-γ (IFN-γ) was demonstrated to mediate resistance to Toxoplasma gondii in murine models because of the recognition of peptides restricted by murine major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules. However, no T gondii-specific HLA-B07-restricted peptides were proven protective against T gondii. Recently, 2 T gondii-specific HLA-B*0702-restricted T cell epitopes, GRA7(20-28) (LPQFATAAT) and GRA3(27-35) (VPFVVFLVA), displayed high-affinity binding to HLA-B*0702 and elicited IFN-γ from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of seropositive HLA-B*07 persons. Herein, these peptides were evaluated to determine whether they could elicit IFN-γ in splenocytes of HLA-B*0702 transgenic mice when administered with adjuvants and protect against subsequent challenge. Peptide-specific IFN-γ-producing T cells were identified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent spot and proliferation assays utilizing splenic T lymphocytes from human lymphocyte antigen (HLA) transgenic mice. When HLA-B*0702 mice were immunized with one of the identified epitopes, GRA7(20-28) in conjunction with a universal CD4(+) T cell epitope (PADRE) and adjuvants (CD4(+) T cell adjuvant, GLA-SE, and TLR2 stimulatory Pam(2)Cys for CD8(+) T cells), this immunization induced CD8(+) T cells to produce IFN-γ and protected mice against high parasite burden when challenged with T gondii. This work demonstrates the feasibility of bioinformatics followed by an empiric approach based on HLA binding to test this biologic activity for identifying protective HLA-B*0702-restricted T gondii peptides and adjuvants that elicit protective immune responses in HLA-B*0702 mice.