Trypanosoma rangeli is a hemoflagellate protozoan parasite infecting humans and other wild and domestic mammals across Central and South America. It does not cause human disease, but it can be mistaken for the etiologic agent of Chagas disease, Trypanosoma cruzi. We have sequenced the T. rangeli genome to provide new tools for elucidating the distinct and intriguing biology of this species and the key pathways related to interaction with its arthropod and mammalian hosts.
Four diamines and three amino alcohols derived from 1-decanol, 1-dodecanol and 1,2-dodecanediol were evaluated in an in vitro assay against a mixture of trypomastigote and intracellular amastigote forms of Trypanosoma cruzi. Two of these compounds (6 and 7) showed better activity against both proliferative stages of T. cruzi than the positive control benznidazole, three were of similar potency (1, 2 and 5) and two were less active (3 and 4).
Cysteine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, plays an important role in a variety of cellular functions such as protein biosynthesis, methylation, and polyamine and glutathione syntheses. In trypanosomatids, glutathione is conjugated with spermidine to form the specific antioxidant thiol trypanothione (T[SH]2) that plays a central role in maintaining intracellular redox homeostasis and providing defence against oxidative stress.
We surveyed diversity patterns and engaged in bioprospecting for bioactive compounds of fungi associated with the endemic macroalgae, Monostroma hariotii and Pyropia endiviifolia, in Antarctica. A total of 239 fungal isolates were obtained, which were identified to represent 48 taxa and 18 genera using molecular methods. The fungal communities consisted of endemic, indigenous and cold-adapted cosmopolitan taxa, which displayed high diversity and richness, but low dominance indices. The extracts of endemic and cold-adapted fungi displayed biological activities and may represent sources of promising prototype molecules to develop drugs. Our results suggest that macroalgae along the marine Antarctic Peninsula provide additional niches where fungal taxa can survive and coexist with their host in the extreme conditions. We hypothesise that the dynamics of richness and dominance among endemic, indigenous and cold-adapted cosmopolitan fungal taxa might be used to understand and model the influence of climate change on the maritime Antarctic mycota.
To evaluate in vitro interactions between paromomycin sulphate and the antileishmanial drugs meglumine antimoniate, amphotericin B, miltefosine and azithromycin against intracellular Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum chagasi, Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis amastigotes in peritoneal mouse macrophages.
A series of bis-(arylmethylidene)-cycloalkanones was synthesized by cross-aldol condensation. The activity of the compounds was evaluated against amastigotes forms of Trypanosoma cruzi and promastigotes forms of Leishmania amazonensis. The cytotoxicity of the active compounds on uninfected fibroblasts or macrophages was established in vitro to evaluate the selectivity of their antiparasitic effects. Six compounds displayed trypanocidal activity against amastigotes intracellular forms of T. cruzi with IC50 values ranging from 7.0 to 249 ?M. Besides these six compounds, eight other molecules exhibited significant leishmanicidal activity (IC50 values ranging from 0.6 to 110.4 ?M). Two compounds can be considered as promising antiparasitic lead molecules because they showed IC50 values in the low-micromolar range (?1.2 ?M) with an adequate SI (?19.9). To understand the mechanism of action of these compounds, two possible molecular targets were investigated: trypanothione reductase (TR) and cruzain.
We surveyed the distribution and diversity of fungi associated with eight macroalgae from Antarctica and their capability to produce bioactive compounds. The collections yielded 148 fungal isolates, which were identified using molecular methods as belonging to 21 genera and 50 taxa. The most frequent taxa were Geomyces species (sp.), Penicillium sp. and Metschnikowia australis. Seven fungal isolates associated with the endemic Antarctic macroalgae Monostroma hariotii (Chlorophyte) displayed high internal transcribed spacer sequences similarities with the psychrophilic pathogenic fungus Geomyces destructans. Thirty-three fungal singletons (66%) were identified, representing rare components of the fungal communities. The fungal communities displayed high diversity, richness and dominance indices; however, rarefaction curves indicated that not all of the fungal diversity present was recovered. Penicillium sp. UFMGCB 6034 and Penicillium sp. UFMGCB 6120, recovered from the endemic species Palmaria decipiens (Rhodophyte) and M. hariotii, respectively, yielded extracts with high and selective antifungal and/or trypanocidal activities, in which a preliminary spectral analysis using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy indicated the presence of highly functionalised aromatic compounds. These results suggest that the endemic and cold-adapted macroalgae of Antarctica shelter a rich, diversity and complex fungal communities consisting of a few dominant indigenous or mesophilic cold-adapted species, and a large number of rare and/or endemic taxa, which may provide an interesting model of algal-fungal interactions under extreme conditions as well as a potential source of bioactive compounds.
A total of 564 isolates of endophytic fungi were recovered from the plants Deschampsia antarctica and Colobanthus quitensis collected from Antarctica. The isolates were screened against parasites Leishmania amazonensis and Trypanosoma cruzi and against the human tumour cell lines. Of the 313 fungal isolates obtained from D. antarctica and 251 from C. quitensis, 25 displayed biological activity. Nineteen extracts displayed leishmanicidal activity, and six inhibited the growth of at least one tumour cell line. These fungi belong to 19 taxa of the genera Alternaria, Antarctomyces, Cadophora, Davidiella, Helgardia, Herpotrichia, Microdochium, Oculimacula, Phaeosphaeria and one unidentified fungus. Extracts of 12 fungal isolates inhibited the proliferation of L. amazonesis at a low IC(50) of between 0.2 and 12.5 ?g ml(-1). The fungus Phaeosphaeria herpotrichoides displayed only leishmanicidal activity with an IC(50) of 0.2 ?g ml(-1), which is equivalent to the inhibitory value of amphotericin B. The extract of Microdochium phragmitis displayed specific cytotoxic activity against the UACC-62 cell line with an IC(50) value of 12.5 ?g ml(-1). Our results indicate that the unique angiosperms living in Antarctica shelter an interesting bioactive fungal community that is able to produce antiprotozoal and antitumoral molecules. These molecules may be used to develop new leishmanicidal and anticancer drugs.
A series of nitroaromatic compounds was synthesized and evaluated as potential antileishmanial and trypanocidal agents. Five compounds exerted significant anti-leishmanial activity in vitro against promastigotes forms of Leishmania (L.) amazonensis, with IC(50) in the range of 23-59 ?mol L(-1), but none were active against amastigotes intracellular forms of Trypanosoma cruzi. In vitro cytotoxicity on the proliferation of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) stimulated with phytohemaglutinin (PHA) was also evaluated. Two compounds, 6 and 7, were found to present a promising anti-leishmanial activity with IC(50) values of 59.5 and 50.6 ?M, respectively, without affecting the lymphocyte proliferation in PBMCs (selectivity index of 16.1 and 21.7, respectively), indicating low toxicity to human cells.
As part of a search for new therapeutic opportunities to treat chagasic patients, in vitro efficacy studies were performed to characterize the activity of five novel arylimidamides (AIAs) against Trypanosoma cruzi.
In this study we prepared an inclusion complex between an iodide analogue of metronidazole (MTZ-I) and cyclodextrin (CD) to develop a safer and more effective method of treating Trypanosoma cruzi infections. According to our results, MTZ-I and MTZ-I:?-CD were 10 times more active than MTZ, demonstrating that the presence of an iodine atom on the side chain increased the trypanocidal activity while maintaining its cytotoxicity. The selective index shows that MTZ-I was 10 times more active against T. cruzi than it was against mammalian cells. The modification of MTZ side chains provides a promising avenue for the development of new drugs.
The in vitro leishmanicidal activity of miltefosine® (Zentaris GmbH) was assessed against four medically relevant Leishmania species of Brazil: Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis, Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis and Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi. The activity of miltefosine against these New World species was compared to its activity against the Old World strain, Leishmania (Leishmania) donovani, which is known to be sensitive to the effects of miltefosine. The IC50 and IC90 results suggested the New World species harboured similar in vitro susceptibilities to miltefosine; however, miltefosine was approximately 20 times more active against the Old World L. (L.) donovani than against the New World L. (L.) chagasi species. The selectivity index varied from 17.2-28.9 for the New World Leishmania species and up to 420.0 for L. (L.) donovani. The differences in susceptibility to miltefosine suggest that future clinical trials with this drug should include a laboratory pre-evaluation and a dose-defining step.
The activity of the antineoplastic drug tamoxifen was evaluated against Trypanosoma cruzi. In vitro activity was determined against epimastigote, trypomastigote and amastigote forms of CL14, Y and Y benznidazole resistant T. cruzi strains. Regardless of the strain used, the drug was active against all life-cycle stages of the parasite with a half maximal effective concentration ranging from 0.7-17.9 µM. Two experimental models of acute Chagas disease were used to evaluate the in vivo efficacy of treatment with tamoxifen. No differences in parasitemia and mortality were observed between control mock-treated and tamoxifen-treated mice.
Chagas disease, a neglected tropical illness for which current therapy is unsatisfactory, is caused by the intracellular parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The goal of this work is to investigate the in vitro and in vivo effects of the arylimidamide (AIA) DB766 against T. cruzi. This arylimidamide exhibits strong trypanocidal activity and excellent selectivity for bloodstream trypomastigotes and intracellular amastigotes (Y strain), giving IC(50)s (drug concentrations that reduce 50% of the number of the treated parasites) of 60 and 25 nM, respectively. DB766 also exerts striking effects upon different parasite stocks, including those naturally resistant to benznidazole, and displays higher activity in vitro than the reference drugs. By fluorescent and transmission electron microscopy analyses, we found that this AIA localizes in DNA-enriched compartments and induces considerable damage to the mitochondria. DB766 effectively reduces the parasite load in the blood and cardiac tissue and presents efficacy similar to that of benznidazole in mouse models of T. cruzi infection employing the Y and Colombian strains, using oral and intraperitoneal doses of up to 100 mg/kg/day that were given after the establishment of parasite infection. This AIA ameliorates electrocardiographic alterations, reduces hepatic and heart lesions induced by the infection, and provides 90 to 100% protection against mortality, which is similar to that provided by benznidazole. Our data clearly show the trypanocidal efficacy of DB766, suggesting that this AIA may represent a new lead compound candidate to Chagas disease treatment.
Chagas disease is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi infection and is characterized by chronic fibrogenic inflammation and heart dysfunction. Chemokines are produced during infection and drive tissue inflammation. In rats, acute infection is characterized by intense myocarditis and regression of inflammation after control of parasitism. We investigated the role of CCL3 and CCL5 during infection by using DNA vaccination encoding for each chemokine separately or simultaneously. MetRANTES treatment was used to evaluate the role of CCR1 and CCR5, the receptors for CCL3 and CCL5. Vaccination with CCL3 or CCL5 increased heart parasitism and decreased local IFN-gamma production, but did not influence intensity of inflammation. Simultaneous treatment with both plasmids or treatment with MetRANTES enhanced cardiac inflammation, fibrosis and parasitism. In conclusion, chemokines CCL3 and CCL5 are relevant, but not essential, for control of T. cruzi infection in rats. On the other hand, combined blockade of these chemokines or their receptors enhanced tissue inflammation and fibrosis, clearly contrasting with available data in murine models of T. cruzi infection. These data reinforce the important role of chemokines during T. cruzi infection but suggest that caution must be taken when expanding the therapeutic modulation of the chemokine system in mice to the human infection.
One hundred and twenty-one isolates of endophytic fungi were recovered from leaves of the bioactive Brazilian plant species Ageratum myriadenia , Palicourea tetraphylla , Piptadenia adiantoides, and Trixis vauthieri. All fungal isolates were cultivated in liquid media and crude extracts were obtained with ethyl acetate. The crude extracts were tested in bioassay panels using Leishmania amazonensis , Trypanosoma cruzi, the enzyme trypanothione reductase (TryR) from Trypanosoma cruzi, and three human cancer cell lines. Thirty-three extracts (27.2%) exhibited at least one biological activity. Seventeen extracts (14%) were cytotoxic against one or more human cancer cell line with the IC50 values ranged of >0.2 to 25 µg/mL. Twenty-four extracts (19.8%) inhibited the activity of TryR, and three showed ability to inhibit the growth of T. cruzi above 60% and their IC50 values ranged among 1 to 10 µg/mL. Eleven extracts (9%) were able to inhibit the growth of L. amazonensis and showed with IC50 values ranged among 4.6 to 24.4 µg/mL. The endophytic fungi were identified as belonging to the genera Alternaria , Arthrinium , Cochliobolus , Colletotrichum , Penicillium , Fusarium, and Gibberella. An interesting result was obtained for the bioactive isolates UFMGCB 508, 537, 899 and 903, which were related to fungi associated with medicinal plants native to Asia, Australia, Africa, and Polynesia. These results indicate that bioactive plants living in Brazilian ecosystems are a potential host of endophytic fungi able to produce bioactive prototype molecules for drug development against neglected tropical diseases.
CA88 is the first long nuclear repetitive DNA sequence identified in the blood fluke, Schistosoma mansoni. The assembled S. mansoni sequence, which contains the CA88 repeat, has 8,887 nucleotides and at least three repeat units of approximately 360 bp. In addition, CA88 also possesses an internal CA microsatellite, identified as SmBr18. Both PCR and BLAST analysis have been used to analyse and confirm the CA88 sequence in other S. mansoni sequences in the public database. PCR-acquired nuclear repetitive DNA sequence profiles from nine Schistosoma species were used to classify this organism into four genotypes. Included among the nine species analysed were five sequences of both African and Asian lineages that are known to infect humans. Within these genotypes, three of them refer to recognised species groups. A panel of four microsatellite loci, including SmBr18 and three previously published loci, has been used to characterise the nine Schistosoma species. Each species has been identified and classified based on its CA88 DNA fingerprint profile. Furthermore, microsatellite sequences and intra-specific variation have also been observed within the nine Schistosoma species sequences. Taken together, these results support the use of these markers in studying the population dynamics of Schistosoma isolates from endemic areas and also provide new methods for investigating the relationships between different populations of parasites. In addition, these data also indicate that Schistosoma magrebowiei is not a sister taxon to Schistosoma mattheei, prompting a new designation to a basal clade.
Chagas disease, a neglected illness, affects nearly 12-14 million people in endemic areas of Latin America. Although the occurrence of acute cases sharply has declined due to Southern Cone Initiative efforts to control vector transmission, there still remain serious challenges, including the maintenance of sustainable public policies for Chagas disease control and the urgent need for better drugs to treat chagasic patients. Since the introduction of benznidazole and nifurtimox approximately 40 years ago, many natural and synthetic compounds have been assayed against Trypanosoma cruzi, yet only a few compounds have advanced to clinical trials. This reflects, at least in part, the lack of consensus regarding appropriate in vitro and in vivo screening protocols as well as the lack of biomarkers for treating parasitaemia. The development of more effective drugs requires (i) the identification and validation of parasite targets, (ii) compounds to be screened against the targets or the whole parasite and (iii) a panel of minimum standardised procedures to advance leading compounds to clinical trials. This third aim was the topic of the workshop entitled Experimental Models in Drug Screening and Development for Chagas Disease, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on the 25th and 26th of November 2008 by the Fiocruz Program for Research and Technological Development on Chagas Disease and Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative. During the meeting, the minimum steps, requirements and decision gates for the determination of the efficacy of novel drugs for T. cruzi control were evaluated by interdisciplinary experts and an in vitro and in vivo flowchart was designed to serve as a general and standardised protocol for screening potential drugs for the treatment of Chagas disease.
After controlling Triatoma infestans in Brazil, other species of triatomine that were considered minor in the transmission of Chagas disease became important. The persistence of Triatoma brasiliensis in Northeastern Brazil, associated with reinfection of domestic environments recently sprayed with pyrethroids, may be a signal of susceptibility alteration of this species to this insecticide. Specimens of T. brasiliensis from the municipality of Tauá, state of Ceará, were captured before and one year after spraying. They were submitted to bioassays using deltamethrin. The LD50 ranged from 0.19-0.33 ng of deltamethrin/nymph. The resistance ratio among samples from Tauá varied from 1.16-1.79 in the samples captured before the spraying and 1.00-1.74 in the samples captured one year after spraying, demonstrating that the two populations were equally susceptible to deltamethrin. The small difference in susceptibility between the two captures suggests that T. brasiliensis obtained in the second capture are from new invasions of the domestic environment and that the insecticide did not select resistant individuals. Therefore, it is suggested that T. brasiliensis control be carried out supplementing the regular use of pyrethroids with complementary measures, such as improvement of the dwellings and health education.
Antioxidant defense in Trypanosomatids has been indicated as a potential target for chemotherapy. Tryparedoxin peroxidase (TXNPx) participates in this defense by metabolizing hydrogen peroxide to water molecules. In this work, genes encoding both cytosolic (cTcTXNPx) and mitochondrial (mTcTXNPx) TXNPx were characterized in 15 benznidazole-susceptible and resistant Trypanosoma cruzi strains. Northern blot and real-time RT-PCR analyses revealed that the levels of cTcTXNPx and mTcTXNPx mRNA were two-fold higher in the in-vitro-induced resistant 17 LER T. cruzi population than its drug-susceptible counterpart 17 WTS. The mRNA levels for both genes were similar among the other T. cruzi samples studied. No amplification of these genes was observed in the parasite genome. In silico analyses indicated that cTcTXNPx and mTcTXNPx genes present eight and two copies, respectively, dispersed in the parasite genome. By western blot analysis, anti-cTcTXNPx and anti-mTcTXNPx polyclonal antibodies recognized a 23- and 25-kDa peptide, respectively, in all T. cruzi samples analyzed. The expression levels of these native proteins were similar for all samples except 17 LER, which displayed two-fold greater expression. In addition, the oxidized mTcTXNPx protein (50 kDa) demonstrated 5.5-fold greater expression in the 17 LER population than 17 WTS. Our findings demonstrate increased expression of the cytosolic and mitochondrial TcTXNPx in the T. cruzi population with in-vitro-induced resistance to benznidazole.
We investigated the influence of CD4(+) T lymphocytes, CD8(+) T lymphocytes, and B lymphocytes on the efficacy of posaconazole (POS) and the reference drug benznidazole (BZ) during treatment of acute Trypanosoma cruzi infection in a murine model. Wild-type mice infected with T. cruzi and treated with POS or BZ presented no parasitemia, 100% survival, and 86 to 89% cure rates, defined as the percentages of animals with negative hemocultures at the end of the observation period. CD4(+)-T-lymphocyte-knockout (KO) mice infected with T. cruzi and treated with BZ or POS controlled parasitemia during treatment, although circulating parasites reappeared after drug pressure cessation, leading to only a 6% survival rate and no cure. CD8(+)-T-lymphocyte-KO mice infected with T. cruzi and treated with POS or BZ had intermediate results, displaying discrete parasitemia after the treatment was ended, 81 and 86% survival, and cure rates of 31 and 66%, respectively. B-lymphocyte-KO mice infected with T. cruzi and treated with BZ relapsed with parasitemia 1 week after the end of treatment and had a 67% survival rate and only a 22% cure rate. In contrast, the activity of POS was much less affected in these animals, with permanent suppression of parasitemia, 100% survival, and a 71% cure rate. Our results demonstrate that abrogation of different lymphocytes activities has distinct effects on the efficacy of POS and BZ in this experimental model, probably reflecting different parasite stages preferentially targeted by the two drugs and distinct cooperation patterns with the host immune system.
Strategies for controlling Chagas disease are based on spraying infested houses with pyrethroid insecticides. However, the intense use of these insecticides has promoted resistance of Triatoma infestans and, in Argentina, Bolivia and Southern Brazil, low levels of resistance have been reported. Due to the persistence of T. infestans in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (RS), we evaluated the occurrence of deltamethrin resistance in four strains from different municipalities in comparison to two susceptible strains from Brazil and one resistant strain from Bolivia. The results indicated the absence of resistance in T. infestansfrom RS.
The sensitivity and reproducibility of a PCR targeted to amplify the conserved 120 base-pair region of minicircles from Leishmania kDNA was defined using DNA extracted from skin biopsy imprints on filter paper. Seventy-seven patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis from an endemic region of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in Brazil underwent skin biopsy of the ulcer border. Tissue samples were imprinted on filter paper and then, they were stored at -20 degrees C. Imprints on filter paper were stored at 4 degrees C. Samples were processed at three laboratories; Lab1 and Lab2 performed the PCR-kDNA assay using DNA extracted from the filter paper, and Lab3 processed PCR-kDNA using DNA from fresh-frozen tissue used as a gold standard. All samples were codified to maintain blinding during lab processing. Fifty-three (68.8%) patients had parasites isolated and identified by isoenzymes as L. (V.) braziliensis. The positivity of PCR-kDNA was similar between the three laboratories: 87.0, 85.7 and 88.3% (Lab1, Lab2 and Lab3, respectively). The sensitivity of PCR-kDNA in culture-proven cases was better, and showed similar results in all laboratories: 95.8, 95.8 and 97.9% (Lab1, Lab2 and Lab3, respectively). Data from the 77 enrolled patients showed an overall percent agreement of 80.5% (Kappa=0.173) for the filter-paper approach between Lab1 and Lab2. Percent agreement between Lab1 and Lab3 was 83.1% (Kappa=0.22), and it was 94.8% between Lab2 and Lab3 (Kappa=0.77). Fifteen patients were diagnosed in just one of the two laboratories that used DNA extracted from filter paper. We conclude that the sensitivity of the filter paper approach is satisfactory and could be used in clinical trials and field work. Reproducibility could be improved using two separate imprints from the same biopsy sample.
Alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH) are a class of oxidoreductases that catalyse the reversible oxidation of ethanol to acetaldehyde. In the human parasite Trypanosoma cruzi the TcADH gene was identified through microarray analysis as having reduced transcription in an in vitro induced benznidazole (BZ)-resistant population. In the present study, we have extended these results by characterizing the TcADH gene from 11 strains of T. cruzi that were either susceptible or naturally resistant to benznidazole and nifurtimox or had in vivo selected or in vitro induced resistance to BZ. Sequence comparisons showed that TcADH was more similar to prokaryotic ADHs than to orthologs identified Leishmania spp. Immunolocalisation using confocal microscopy revealed that TcADH is present in the kinetoplast region and along the parasite body, consistent with the mitochondrial localization predicted by sequence analysis. Northern blots showed a 1.9kb transcript with similar signal intensity in all T. cruzi samples analysed, except for the in vitro selected resistant population, where transcript levels were 2-fold lower. These findings were confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR. In Western blot analysis, anti-TcADH polyclonal antisera recognised a 42kDa protein in all T. cruzi strains tested. The level of expression of this polypeptide was approximately 2-fold lower in the in vitro induced benznidazole-resistant strain, than in the susceptible parental strain. The chromosomal location of the TcADH gene was variable, but was not associated with the zymodeme or with the drug resistance phenotype. The data presented here show that the TcADH enzyme has a decreased level of expression in the in vitro induced BZ-resistant T. cruzi population, a situation that has not been observed in the in vivo selected BZ-resistant and naturally resistant strains.
A multiplex PCR was developed for simultaneous detection of Trypanosoma cruzi DNA and classification of the parasite strain into groups I and II. As little as 10fg of T. cruzi DNA could be detected by multiplex PCR. The technique was shown to be specific for T. cruzi DNA, since no PCR amplification products were obtained with DNA from other tripanosomatid species. Multiplex PCR was validated by assaying genomic DNA from 34 strains of T. cruzi that had been previously characterized; 24 blood samples from experimentally-infected mice and non-infected controls; 20 buffy coat samples from patients in the acute phase of Chagas disease and non-infected individuals, and 15 samples of feces from naturally-infected Triatoma infestans. T. cruzi samples from patients and from Y strain-infected mice were classified by multiplex PCR as T. cruzi II and samples from T. infestans and Colombiana strain-infected mice as T. cruzi I.
Hexose transporters (HT) are membrane proteins involved in the uptake of energy-supplying glucose and other hexoses into the cell. Previous studies employing the Differential Display technique have shown that the transcription level of the HT gene from T. cruzi (TcrHT) is higher in an in vitro-induced benznidazole (BZ)-resistant population of the parasite (17 LER) than in its susceptible counterpart (17 WTS).
The glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored mucins of Trypanosoma cruzi trypomastigotes play an important immunomodulatory role during the course of Chagas disease. Here, some biological activities of tGPI-mucins from four T. cruzi isolates, including benznidazole-susceptible (BZS-Y), benznidazole-resistant (BZR-Y), CL, and Colombiana, were evaluated. GPI-mucins were able to differentially trigger the production of interleukin-12 and nitric oxide in BALB/c macrophages and modulate LLC-MK2 cell invasion. The significance of these variations was assessed after analysis of the terminal ?-galactosyl residues. Enzymatic treatment with ?-galactosidase indicated a differential expression of O-linked ?-galactosyl residues among the strains, with higher expression of this sugar in BZS-Y and BZR-Y T. cruzi populations followed by Colombiana and CL. Unweighted pair group method analysis of the carbohydrate anchor profile and biological parameters allowed the clustering of two groups. One group includes Y and CL strains (T. cruzi II and VI), and the other group is represented by Colombiana strain (T. cruzi I).
Ascorbate peroxidases (APX) are class I heme-containing enzymes that convert hydrogen peroxide into water molecules. The gene encoding APX has been characterized in 11 strains of Trypanosoma cruzi that are sensitive or resistant to benznidazole (BZ). Bioinformatic analysis revealed the presence of two complete copies of the T. cruzi APX (TcAPX) gene in the genome of the parasite, while karyotype analysis showed that the gene was present in the 2.000-kb chromosome of all of the strains analyzed. The sequence of TcAPX exhibited greater levels of similarity to those of orthologous enzymes from Leishmania spp than to APXs from the higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Northern blot and real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analyses revealed no significant differences in TcAPX mRNA levels between the T. cruzi strains analyzed. On the other hand, Western blots showed that the expression levels of TcAPX protein were, respectively, two and three-fold higher in T. cruzi populations with in vitro induced (17 LER) and in vivo selected (BZR) resistance to BZ, in comparison with their corresponding susceptible counterparts. Moreover, the two BZ-resistant populations exhibited higher tolerances to exogenous hydrogen peroxide than their susceptible counterparts and showed TcAPX levels that increased in a dose-dependent manner following exposure to 100 and 200 µM hydrogen peroxide.
Almost 3 million babies were tested in a newborn screening program in Minas Gerais, Brazil (1998-2008); 128 who have S-like hemoglobins (Hbs) were tested for the ?(S) allele and 112 were identified through polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) or sequencing. Hb Stanleyville-II [?78(EF7)Asn?Lys (?2); HbA2: c.237C>A] was present in 96 children (85.7%), two in a homozygous state and 94 in a heterozygous state. Its estimated prevalence was 1:11,500. Hbs Hasharon [?47(CE5)Asp?His, GAC>CAC (?2)], Ottawa [?15(A13)Gly?Arg (GGT>CGT) (?2 or ?1)], G-Ferrara [?57(E1)Asn?Lys (AAC>AAA or AAG)], St. Lukes [?95(G2)Pro?Arg, C?CG>C?GG (?1)], Maputo [?47(CD6)Asp?Tyr (GAT>TAT)] and Etobicoke [?84(F5)Ser?Arg (AG?C>AG?G or CGC or AGA) (?2 or ?1)] were also identified. Many children with Hbs Stanleyville-II and Hasharon also co-inherited the -?(3.7) thalassemia gene. African ancestry was recognized by parents of all 31 children with Hb Stanleyville-II who were interviewed. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular Hb (MCH) values were significantly lower in children with ?-thalassemia (?-thal). We came to the conclusion that Hb Stanleyville-II is not so uncommon in Brazil and seems to have originated from the African slave trade. This study reinforces the importance of an accurate diagnosis of variants that have electrophoretic mobility similar to Hb S [?6(A3)Glu?Val, GAG>GTG] so that false diagnoses are avoided.
(•)NO is considered to be a key macrophage-derived cytotoxic effector during Trypanosoma cruzi infection. On the other hand, the microbicidal properties of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are well recognized, but little importance has been attributed to them during in vivo infection with T. cruzi. In order to investigate the role of ROS in T. cruzi infection, mice deficient in NADPH phagocyte oxidase (gp91(phox) (-/-) or phox KO) were infected with Y strain of T. cruzi and the course of infection was followed. phox KO mice had similar parasitemia, similar tissue parasitism and similar levels of IFN-? and TNF in serum and spleen cell culture supernatants, when compared to wild-type controls. However, all phox KO mice succumbed to infection between day 15 and 21 after inoculation with the parasite, while 60% of wild-type mice were alive 50 days after infection. Further investigation demonstrated increased serum levels of nitrite and nitrate (NOx) at day 15 of infection in phox KO animals, associated with a drop in blood pressure. Treatment with a NOS2 inhibitor corrected the blood pressure, implicating NOS2 in this phenomenon. We postulate that superoxide reacts with (•)NO in vivo, preventing blood pressure drops in wild type mice. Hence, whilst superoxide from phagocytes did not play a critical role in parasite control in the phox KO animals, its production would have an important protective effect against blood pressure decline during infection with T. cruzi.
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