The glycerol kinase (GK) of African human trypanosomes is compartmentalized in their glycosomes. Unlike the host GK, which under physiological conditions catalyzes only the forward reaction (ATP-dependent glycerol phosphorylation), trypanosome GK can additionally catalyze the reverse reaction. In fact, owing to this unique reverse catalysis, GK is potentially essential for the parasites survival in the human host, hence a promising drug target. The mechanism of its reverse catalysis was unknown; therefore, it was not clear if this ability was purely due to its localization in the organelles or whether structure-based catalytic differences also contribute. To investigate this lack of information, the X-ray crystal structure of this protein was determined up to 1.90?Å resolution, in its unligated form and in complex with three natural ligands. These data, in conjunction with results from structure-guided mutagenesis suggests that the trypanosome GK is possibly a transiently autophosphorylating threonine kinase, with the catalytic site formed by non-conserved residues. Our results provide a series of structural peculiarities of this enzyme, and gives unexpected insight into the reverse catalysis mechanism. Together, they provide an encouraging molecular framework for the development of trypanosome GK-specific inhibitors, which may lead to the design of new and safer trypanocidal drug(s).
Chagas disease is caused by an intracellular parasitic protist, Trypanosoma cruzi. As there are no highly effective drugs against this agent that also demonstrate low toxicity, there is an urgent need for development of new drugs to treat Chagas disease. We have previously demonstrated that the parasite inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (TcIP3R) is crucial for invasion of the mammalian host cell by T. cruzi. Here, we report that TcIP3R is a short-lived protein and that its expression is significantly suppressed in trypomastigotes. Treatment of trypomastigotes, an infective stage of T. cruzi, with antisense oligonucleotides specific to TcIP3R deceased TcIP3R protein levels and impaired trypomastigote invasion of host cells. Due to the resulting instability and very low expression level of TcIP3R in trypomastigotes indicates that TcIP3R is a promising target for antisense therapy in Chagas disease.
Accumulating evidence indicates that a small population of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is involved in intrinsic resistance to cancer treatment. The hypoxic microenvironment is an important stem cell niche that promotes the persistence of CSCs in tumors. Our aim here was to elucidate the role of hypoxia and CSCs in the resistance to gefitinib in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with activating epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation. NSCLC cell lines, PC9 and HCC827, which express the EGFR exon 19 deletion mutations, were exposed to high concentration of gefitinib under normoxic or hypoxic conditions. Seven days after gefitinib exposure, a small fraction of viable cells were detected, and these were referred to as "gefitinib-resistant persisters" (GRPs). CD133, Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, CXCR4, and ALDH1A1-all genes involved in stemness-were highly expressed in GRPs in PC9 and HCC827 cells, and PC9 GRPs exhibited a high potential for tumorigenicity in vivo. The expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) was also upregulated and IGF1 receptor (IGF1R) was activated on GRPs. Importantly, hypoxic exposure significantly increased sphere formation, reflecting the self-renewal capability, and the population of CD133- and Oct4-positive GRPs. Additionally, hypoxia upregulated IGF1 expression through hypoxia-inducible factor 1? (HIF1?), and markedly promoted the activation of IGF1R on GRPs. Knockdown of IGF1 expression significantly reduced phosphorylated IGF1R-expressing GRPs under hypoxic conditions. Finally, inhibition of HIF1? or IGF1R by specific inhibitors significantly decreased the population of CD133- and Oct4-positive GRPs, which were increased by hypoxia in PC9 and HCC827 cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that hypoxia increased the population of lung CSCs resistant to gefitinib in EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC by activating IGF1R. Targeting the IGF1R pathway may be a promising strategy for overcoming gefitinib resistance in EGFR mutation-positive NSCLC induced by lung CSCs and microenvironment factors such as tumor hypoxia.
Human African trypanosomes are blood parasites that cause sleeping sickness, a debilitating disease in sub-Saharan Africa. Glycerol kinase (GK) of these parasites additionally possesses a novel property of reverse catalysis. GK is essential to blood stream form trypanosome, and therefore a promising drug target. Here, utilizing recombinant DNA technology an optimized procedure for obtaining large amount of the purified protein was established. Furthermore, biochemical data on its enzymology are reported. The protein was maximally active at pH 6.8 over a temperature range of 25-70°C, with activation energy of 34.02 ± 0.31 kJ mol(-1). The enzyme catalyses a reversible bisubstrate [ADP and glycerol 3-phosphate (G3P)]-biproduct (ATP and glycerol) reaction. It has Km of 0.90 and 5.54 mM for ADP and G3P, respectively, and Vmax of 25.3 and 20.0 µmol min(-1) mg(-1), respectively. Unexpectedly, the enzyme lost more than 50% of its activity in 48 h at 4°C in 0.1 M sodium phosphate buffer pH 6.8 containing 10 mM MgSO4. However, perfect stabilization of the GK for more than 4 weeks was achieved in the presence of its natural ligands and cofactor. Using this stabilized protein, crystals of trypanosome GK with better resolution were obtained. This will accelerate the success of GK inhibitor development for drug design.
In addition to haem copper oxidases, all higher plants, some algae, yeasts, molds, metazoans, and pathogenic microorganisms such as Trypanosoma brucei contain an additional terminal oxidase, the cyanide-insensitive alternative oxidase (AOX). AOX is a diiron carboxylate protein that catalyzes the four-electron reduction of dioxygen to water by ubiquinol. In T. brucei, a parasite that causes human African sleeping sickness, AOX plays a critical role in the survival of the parasite in its bloodstream form. Because AOX is absent from mammals, this protein represents a unique and promising therapeutic target. Despite its bioenergetic and medical importance, however, structural features of any AOX are yet to be elucidated. Here we report crystal structures of the trypanosomal alternative oxidase in the absence and presence of ascofuranone derivatives. All structures reveal that the oxidase is a homodimer with the nonhaem diiron carboxylate active site buried within a four-helix bundle. Unusually, the active site is ligated solely by four glutamate residues in its oxidized inhibitor-free state; however, inhibitor binding induces the ligation of a histidine residue. A highly conserved Tyr220 is within 4 Å of the active site and is critical for catalytic activity. All structures also reveal that there are two hydrophobic cavities per monomer. Both inhibitors bind to one cavity within 4 Å and 5 Å of the active site and Tyr220, respectively. A second cavity interacts with the inhibitor-binding cavity at the diiron center. We suggest that both cavities bind ubiquinol and along with Tyr220 are required for the catalytic cycle for O2 reduction.
In animals, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3 Rs) are ion channels that play a pivotal role in many biological processes by mediating Ca(2+) release from the endoplasmic reticulum. Here, we report the identification and characterization of a novel IP3 R in the parasitic protist, Trypanosoma cruzi, the pathogen responsible for Chagas disease. DT40 cells lacking endogenous IP3 R genes expressing T.?cruzi IP3 R (TcIP3 R) exhibited IP3 -mediated Ca(2+) release from the ER, and demonstrated receptor binding to IP3 . TcIP3 R was expressed throughout the parasite life cycle but the expression level was much lower in bloodstream trypomastigotes than in intracellular amastigotes or epimastigotes. Disruption of two of the three TcIP3 R gene loci led to the death of the parasite, suggesting that IP3 R is essential for T.?cruzi. Parasites expressing reduced or increased levels of TcIP3 R displayed defects in growth, transformation and infectivity, indicating that TcIP3 R is an important regulator of the parasites life cycle. Furthermore, mice infected with T.?cruzi expressing reduced levels of TcIP3 R exhibited a reduction of disease symptoms, indicating that TcIP3 R is an important virulence factor. Combined with the fact that the primary structure of TcIP3 R has low similarity to that of mammalian IP3 Rs, TcIP3 R is a promising drug target for Chagas disease.
The intracellular parasitic protist Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease in Latin America. In general, pyrimidine nucleotides are supplied by both de novo biosynthesis and salvage pathways. While epimastigotes-an insect form-possess both activities, amastigotes-an intracellular replicating form of T. cruzi-are unable to mediate the uptake of pyrimidine. However, the requirement of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis for parasite growth and survival has not yet been elucidated. Carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase II (CPSII) is the first and rate-limiting enzyme of the de novo biosynthetic pathway, and increased CPSII activity is associated with the rapid proliferation of tumor cells. In the present study, we showed that disruption of the T. cruzi cpsII gene significantly reduced parasite growth. In particular, the growth of amastigotes lacking the cpsII gene was severely suppressed. Thus, the de novo pyrimidine pathway is important for proliferation of T. cruzi in the host cell cytoplasm and represents a promising target for chemotherapy against Chagas disease.
A parasitological survey of Schistosoma haematobium infection among primary schoolchildren in the remote areas of Hhohho and Manzini Provinces in northwestern Swaziland was undertaken. Presence of infection in subjects was confirmed on detection of S. haematobium ova in urine or the presence of hematuria. The intensity of the infection was estimated by calculating the total number of S. haematobium ova present in a 10-ml urine specimen and was expressed in terms of geometric mean intensity (GMI). The prevalence of S. haematobium infection in these populations was 5.3% (21/395) with a GMI of 46.5. Boys had higher prevalence (7.1%, 13/182) and GMI (50.4) than girls (3.8%, 8/213; 40.0) did (P>0.05). Geographically, the prevalence in Manzini schoolchildren (14.6%, 12/82) was significantly higher than that in Hhohho schoolchildren (2.9%, 9/313; P<0.001); however, Hhohho schoolchildren had a higher GMI (70.2) than that observed in Manzini schoolchildren (21.9). Children from schools located in Lowveld had a significantly higher prevalence (11.4%, 19/166) than that in children from schools located in Highveld (0.6%, 1/162) (P<0.0001).
Glycosomes are peroxisome-related organelles containing glycolytic enzymes that have been found only in kinetoplastids. We show here that a glycolytic enzyme is compartmentalized in diplonemids, the sister group of kinetoplastids. We found that, similar to kinetoplastid aldolases, the fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase of Diplonema papillatum possesses a type 2-peroxisomal targeting signal. Western blotting showed that this aldolase was present predominantly in the membrane/organellar fraction. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that this aldolase had a scattered distribution in the cytosol, suggesting its compartmentalization. In contrast, orotidine-5-monophosphate decarboxylase, a non-glycolytic glycosomal enzyme in kinetoplastids, was shown to be a cytosolic enzyme in D. papillatum. Since euglenoids, the earliest diverging branch of Euglenozoa, do not possess glycolytic compartments, these findings suggest that the routing of glycolytic enzymes into peroxisomes may have occurred in a common ancestor of diplonemids and kinetoplastids, followed by diversification of these newly established organelles in each of these euglenozoan lineages.
The lung is one of the sites of granulomatous responses, which are characterized by the recruitment and organization of activated macrophages and lymphocytes. There have been several reports that have shown that some pulmonary granulomatous diseases, such as sarcoidosis and nontuberculous mycobacterial disease, are likely to be characterized by a preponderance in postmenopausal females. Although sex hormones have been shown to play an important role in the regulation of the immune system, the influence of sex hormones on pulmonary granuloma formation is still unclear. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess whether sex hormones are involved in granulomatous inflammation and to evaluate how sex hormones modulate this response in the lung.
Tracheal extubation and emergence procedures induce abrupt changes in hemodynamics and humoral responses. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of different doses of landiolol on hemodynamics during emergence from anesthesia.
To investigate intranasal (i.n.) immunization efficacy of Schistosoma japonicum 97-kDa myofibrillar protein paramyosin (PM), a vaccine candidate for Asian schistosomiasis, BALB/c mice were i.n. immunized with Escherichia coli-expressed recombinant PM (rPM). I.n. immunization using rPM mixed with cholera toxin (CT) was more potent than subcutaneous (s.c.) immunization with rPM emulsified in incomplete Freunds adjuvant for induction of serum (IgG, IgE, and IgA) and mucosal (IgA in nose, lung, and intestine) antibody and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses. The second i.n. immunization was sufficient to induce maximal serum IgG and DTH responses, which were almost completely maintained for more than 6 months. Next, to evaluate protective efficacy of the rPM against S. japonicum infection, immunized mice were infected with S. japonicum cercariae at 2 weeks after the second immunization. At 7 weeks after infection, we observed no reduction in worm burden or fecundity in both i.n. and s.c. immunized groups. Results showed that i.n. immunization with rPM/CT failed to provide protection against parasite infection, albeit the antigen was a very potent mucosal immunogen. These results may emphasize the need to innovate new mucosal adjuvants or delivery molecules to overcome such hurdles in the construction of a mucosal antiparasite vaccine platform.
Cyanide-insensitive alternative oxidase (AOX) is a mitochondrial membrane protein and a non-proton-pumping ubiquinol oxidase that catalyzes the four-electron reduction of dioxygen to water. In the African trypanosomes, trypanosome alternative oxidase (TAO) functions as a cytochrome-independent terminal oxidase that is essential for survival in the mammalian host; hence, the enzyme is considered to be a promising drug target for the treatment of trypanosomiasis. In the present study, recombinant TAO (rTAO) overexpressed in haem-deficient Escherichia coli was purified and crystallized at 293 K by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using polyethylene glycol 400 as a precipitant. X-ray diffraction data were collected at 100 K and were processed to 2.9 A resolution with 93.1% completeness and an overall R(merge) of 9.5%. The TAO crystals belonged to the orthorhombic space group I222 or I2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 63.11, b = 136.44, c = 223.06 A. Assuming the presence of two rTAO molecules in the asymmetric unit (2 x 38 kDa), the calculated Matthews coefficient (V(M)) was 3.2 A(3) Da(-1), which corresponds to a solvent content of 61.0%. This is the first report of a crystal of the membrane-bound diiron proteins, which include AOXs.
In the bloodstream forms of human trypanosomes, glycerol kinase (GK; EC 22.214.171.124) is one of the nine glycosomally compartmentalized enzymes that are essential for energy metabolism. In this study, a recombinant Trypanosoma brucei gambiense GK (rTbgGK) with an N-terminal cleavable His(6) tag was overexpressed, purified to homogeneity and crystallized by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method using PEG 400 as a precipitant. A complete X-ray diffraction data set to 2.75 A resolution indicated that the crystals belonged to the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 63.84, b = 121.50, c = 154.59 A. The presence of two rTbgGK molecules in the asymmetric unit gives a Matthews coefficient (V(M)) of 2.5 A(3) Da(-1), corresponding to 50% solvent content.
Cyclic AMP-protein kinase A (PKA) signaling is important for the growth and differentiation of Trypanosoma cruzi. Immunofluorescence suggests that PKA can associate with the plasma membrane of trypomastigotes. We found that the PKA regulatory subunit interacts with several P-type ATPases. These P-type ATPases may play a role in anchoring PKA to the plasma membrane in T. cruzi.
Aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATCase), the second enzyme of the de novo pyrimidine-biosynthetic pathway, catalyzes the production of carbamoyl aspartate from carbamoyl phosphate and L-aspartate. In contrast to Escherichia coli ATCase and eukaryotic CAD multifunctional fusion enzymes, Trypanosoma cruzi ATCase lacks regulatory subunits and is not part of the multifunctional fusion enzyme. Recombinant T. cruzi ATCase expressed in E. coli was purified and crystallized in a ligand-free form and in a complex with carbamoyl phosphate at 277 K by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion technique using polyethylene glycol 3350 as a precipitant. Ligand-free crystals (space group P1, unit-cell parameters a = 78.42, b = 79.28, c = 92.02 A, alpha = 69.56, beta = 82.90, gamma = 63.25 degrees) diffracted X-rays to 2.8 A resolution, while those cocrystallized with carbamoyl phosphate (space group P2(1), unit-cell parameters a = 88.41, b = 158.38, c = 89.00 A, beta = 119.66 degrees) diffracted to 1.6 A resolution. The presence of two homotrimers in the asymmetric unit (38 kDa x 6) gives V(M) values of 2.3 and 2.5 A(3) Da(-1) for the P1 and P2(1) crystal forms, respectively.
Experimental vaccination with radiation-attenuated cercariae (RAC) confers possible practical levels of resistance to challenge infection by humoral and by cellular mechanism. Here, we aimed to identify possible vaccine antigens by using specific IgG antibody from RAC vaccinated miniature pig. Two milligrams of soluble egg antigen (SEA) or schistosomal worm antigen preparation (SWAP) was fractionated using two dimensional liquid chromatography (proteome PF 2D) consisted of high performance chromatofocusing (HPCF) and high resolution reversed phase chromatography (HPRP). Of the 42 HPCF fractions of SEA or SWAP, 26 (61.9%) or 15 (35.7%) showed positive dot blot reaction with RAC vaccinated serum respectively. The dot blot positive fractions were applied to the second HPRP column. One hundred and seven out of 26 x 96 of SEA fractions and 18 out of 15 x 96 SWAP fractions reacted with RAC vaccinated serum. From the positive fractions we chose 17 of SEA and 10 of SWAP that had no reactivity with normal cercariae infected (NCI) sera and had single peak of 214 nm; and automated N-terminal amino acid sequence based on in situ Edman Reaction was conducted. Four sequences were obtained and applied to the homology search in NCBI database. A total of eight candidate genes were listed up and their cDNA clones from schistosomula stage were obtained. Two of the recombinant proteins (AAW27472.1 and AXX25883.1) showed strong reactivity with the RAC vaccinated serum but marginal with NCI serum. This protocol using proteome PF 2D could be applicable in identifying immunoreactive proteins from crude extract for the development of vaccines or for diagnostics.
Somatic mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene, such as exon 19 deletion mutations, are important factors in determining therapeutic responses to gefitinib in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, some patients have activating mutations in EGFR and show poor responses to gefitinib. In this study, we examined three NSCLC cell lines, HCC827, PC9, and HCC2935, that expressed an EGFR exon 19 deletion mutation. All cells expressed mutant EGFR, but the PC9 and HCC2935 cells also expressed wild-type EGFR. The HCC827 cells were highly sensitive to gefitinib under both normoxia and hypoxia. However, the PC9 and HCC2935 cells were more resistant to gefitinib under hypoxic conditions compared to normoxia. Phosphorylation of EGFR and ERK was suppressed with gefitinib treatment to a lesser extent under hypoxia. The expression of transforming growth factor-? (TGF?) was dramatically upregulated under hypoxia, and the knockdown of TGF? or hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF1?) reversed the resistance to gefitinib in hypoxic PC9 and HCC2935 cells. Finally, introduction of the wild-type EGFR gene into the HCC827 cells caused resistance to gefitinib under hypoxia. This phenomenon was also reversed by the knockdown of TGF? or HIF1?. Our results indicate that hypoxia causes gefitinib resistance in EGFR-mutant NSCLC through the activation of wild-type EGFR mediated by the upregulation of TGF?. The presence of wild-type and mutant EGFR along with tumor hypoxia are important factors that should be considered when treating NSCLC patients with gefitinib.
The flagellate protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, is a causative agent of Chagas disease that is transmitted by reduviid bugs to humans. The parasite exists in multiple morphological forms in both vector and host, and cell differentiation in T. cruzi is tightly associated with stage-specific protein synthesis and degradation. However, the specific molecular mechanisms responsible for this coordinated cell differentiation are unclear.
The first 3 reaction steps of the de novo pyrimidine biosynthetic pathway are catalyzed by carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase II (CPSII), aspartate transcarbamoylase (ATC), and dihydroorotase (DHO), respectively. In eukaryotes, these enzymes are structurally classified into 2 types: (1) a CPSII-DHO-ATC fusion enzyme (CAD) found in animals, fungi, and amoebozoa, and (2) stand-alone enzymes found in plants and the protist groups. In the present study, we demonstrate direct intermolecular interactions between CPSII, ATC, and DHO of the parasitic protist Trypanosoma cruzi, which is the causative agent of Chagas disease. The 3 enzymes were expressed in a bacterial expression system and their interactions were examined. Immunoprecipitation using an antibody specific for each enzyme coupled with Western blotting-based detection using antibodies for the counterpart enzymes showed co-precipitation of all 3 enzymes. From an evolutionary viewpoint, the formation of a functional tri-enzyme complex may have preceded-and led to-gene fusion to produce the CAD protein. This is the first report to demonstrate the structural basis of these 3 enzymes as a model of CAD. Moreover, in conjunction with the essentiality of de novo pyrimidine biosynthesis in the parasite, our findings provide a rationale for new strategies for developing drugs for Chagas disease, which target the intermolecular interactions of these 3 enzymes.
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