ABSTRACT: We analyzed ~27nt small RNAs from Entamoeba invadens trophozoites, 24h cysts, 72h cysts, and excysting cells (8h) E. invadens trophozoites were induced to encyst by incubation in low glucose media, and parasites harvested at 0, 24 and 72h. A subset of the 72h cysts were induced to excyst, and parasites harvested at 8h. Total RNA was extracted for each sampleand small RNA libraries constructed and sequenced as below
Project description:We analyzed ~27nt small RNAs from Entamoeba histolytica trophozoites in basal conditions and after heat shock or oxidative stress E. histolytica trophozoites were treated with 1mM H2O2 for 1hr, or heat shocked at 42°C for 1hr and RNA was isolated and small RNA populations were compared to small RNA populations from untreated trophozoites
Project description:The human parasite Entamoeba histolytica has an active RNA interference (RNAi) pathway with an extensive repertoire of 27nt small RNAs that silence genes. However the role of this pathway in regulating amebic biology remains unknown. In this study, we address whether silencing via 27nt small RNAs may be a mechanism for controlling gene expression changes during conversion between the trophozoite and cyst stages of the parasite. We sequenced small RNA libraries generated from trophozoites, early cysts, mature cysts, and excysting cells and mapped them to the E. invadens genome. Our results show that, as in E. histolytica, small RNAs in E. invadens are largely ~27nt in length, have an unusual 5'-polyphosphate structure and mediate gene silencing. However, when comparing the libraries from each developmental time-point we found few changes in the composition of the small RNA populations. Furthermore, genes targeted by small RNAs were permanently silenced with no changes in transcript abundance during development. Thus, the E. invadens 27nt small RNA population does not mediate gene expression changes during development. In order to assess the generalizability of our observations, we examined whether small RNAs may be regulating gene expression changes during stress response in E. histolytica. Comparison of the 27nt small RNA populations from E. histolytica trophozoites from basal conditions, or after heat shock or exposure to oxidative stress showed few differences. Similar to data in E. invadens development, genes targeted by small RNAs were consistently silenced and did not change expression under tested stress conditions. Thus, the biological roles of the 27nt small RNA population in Entamoeba remain elusive. However, as the first characterization of the RNAi pathway in E. invadens these data serve as a useful resource for the study of Entamoeba development and open the door to the development of RNAi-based gene silencing tools in E. invadens.
Project description:Neglected tropical diseases, especially those caused by parasites, are significantly underserved by current drug development efforts, mostly due to the high costs and low economic returns. One method for lowering the costs of drug discovery and development for these diseases is to repurpose drugs developed for other indications. Here, we present the results of a screen of five repurposed drug libraries to identify potential new lead compounds to treat amebiasis, a disease that affects tens of millions of people and causes ~100,000 deaths annually. E. histolytica, the causative agent of amebiasis, has two major life cycle stages, the trophozoite and the cyst. The current primary treatment for amebiasis, nitroimidazole compounds, do not eliminate parasites from the colonic lumen, necessitating a multi-drug treatment regimen. We aimed to address this problem by screening against both life stages, with the aim of identifying a single drug that targets both. We successfully identified eleven compounds with activity against both cysts and trophozoites, as well as multiple compounds that killed trophozoites with improved efficacy over existing drugs. Two lead compounds (anisomycin and prodigiosin) were further characterized for activity against metronidazole (MNZ) resistant parasites and mature cysts. Anisomycin and prodigiosin were both able to kill MNZ resistant parasites while prodigiosin and its analog obatoclax were active against mature cysts. This work confirms the feasibility of identifying drugs that target both Entamoeba trophozoites and cysts, and is an important step toward developing improved treatment regimens for Entamoeba infection.
Project description:Compared with many protists, Giardia lamblia has a simple life cycle alternating between cyst and trophozoite. Most research on the molecular biology of Giardia parasites has focused on trophozoites and the processes of excystation and encystation, whereas cysts have attracted less interest. The striking morphological differences between the dormant cyst and the rapidly dividing and motile trophozoite implies profound changes in the metabolism as the parasite encysts in the host's intestine and excysts upon ingestion by a new host.To investigate the magnitude of the transcriptional changes occurring during the G. lamblia life cycle we compared the transcriptome of G. lamblia trophozoites and cysts using single-color oligonucleotide microarrays. Cysts were found to possess a much smaller transcriptome, both in terms of mRNA diversity and abundance. Genes encoding proteins related to ribosomal functions are highly over-represented. The comparison of the transcriptome of cysts generated in culture or extracted from feces revealed little overlap, raising the possibility of significant biological differences between the two types of cysts.The comparison of the G. lamblia cyst and trophozoite transcriptome showed that transcripts of most genes are present at a lower level in cysts. This global view of the cyst and trophozoite transcriptome complements studies focused on the expression of selected genes during trophozoite multiplication, encystation and excystation.
Project description:Protein S-palmitoylation, a hydrophobic post-translational modification, is performed by protein acyltransferases that have a common DHHC Cys-rich domain (DHHC proteins), and provides a regulatory switch for protein membrane association. In this work, we analyzed the presence of DHHC proteins in the protozoa parasite Giardia lamblia and the function of the reversible S-palmitoylation of proteins during parasite differentiation into cyst. Two specific events were observed: encysting cells displayed a larger amount of palmitoylated proteins, and parasites treated with palmitoylation inhibitors produced a reduced number of mature cysts. With bioinformatics tools, we found nine DHHC proteins, potential protein acyltransferases, in the Giardia proteome. These proteins displayed a conserved structure when compared to different organisms and are distributed in different monophyletic clades. Although all Giardia DHHC proteins were found to be present in trophozoites and encysting cells, these proteins showed a different intracellular localization in trophozoites and seemed to be differently involved in the encystation process when they were overexpressed. dhhc transgenic parasites showed a different pattern of cyst wall protein expression and yielded different amounts of mature cysts when they were induced to encyst. Our findings disclosed some important issues regarding the role of DHHC proteins and palmitoylation during Giardia encystation.
Project description:Current treatments for Acanthamoeba keratitis rely on a combination of chlorhexidine gluconate, propamidine isethionate, and polyhexamethylene biguanide. These disinfectants are nonspecific and inherently toxic, which limits their effectiveness. Furthermore, in 10% of cases, recurrent infection ensues due to the difficulty in killing both trophozoites and double-walled cysts. Therefore, development of efficient, safe, and target-specific drugs which are capable of preventing recurrent Acanthamoeba infection is a critical unmet need for averting blindness. Since both trophozoites and cysts contain specific sets of membrane sterols, we hypothesized that antifungal drugs targeting sterol 14-demethylase (CYP51), known as conazoles, would have deleterious effects on A. castellanii trophozoites and cysts. To test this hypothesis, we first performed a systematic screen of the FDA-approved conazoles against A. castellanii trophozoites using a bioluminescence-based viability assay adapted and optimized for Acanthamoeba The most potent drugs were then evaluated against cysts. Isavuconazole and posaconazole demonstrated low nanomolar potency against trophozoites of three clinical strains of A. castellanii Furthermore, isavuconazole killed trophozoites within 24?h and suppressed excystment of preformed Acanthamoeba cysts into trophozoites. The rapid action of isavuconazole was also evident from the morphological changes at nanomolar drug concentrations causing rounding of trophozoites within 24?h of exposure. Given that isavuconazole has an excellent safety profile, is well tolerated in humans, and blocks A. castellanii excystation, this opens an opportunity for the cost-effective repurposing of isavuconazole for the treatment of primary and recurring Acanthamoeba keratitis.
Project description:Giardia gene expression is being examined using Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE) to monitor genome-wide levels of messenger RNA (mRNA) expression throughout Giardia's life cycle. Examination of genome-wide gene expression patterns will provide a coherent picture of activation and inactivation of biological pathways. This research will provide a comprehensive understanding of changes in giardial gene expression in response to important host physiological signals and will serve as a valuable model for study of other parasites and complex eukaryotes, such as yeast and animals. It will provide a dynamic framework, in the context of the life cycle, to the annotation of the Giardia genome, including the detection of unpredicted genes via detection of their tags. Keywords: Giardia, SAGE, trophozoites, encystation, excystation, cysts Overall design: The Giardia SAGE project detects up- and down-regulation of genes related to giardial infection (excystation), pathogenicity (trophozoites), transmission (encystation), and survival in the environment (cysts).
Project description:The cyst stage of Entamoeba histolytica is a promising therapeutic target against human amoebiasis. Our research team previously reported the production in vitro of Cyst-Like Structures (CLS) sharing structural features with cysts, including rounded shape, size reduction, multinucleation, and the formation of a chitin wall coupled to the overexpression of glucosamine 6-phosphate isomerase, the rate-limiting enzyme of the chitin synthesis pathway. A proteomic study of E. histolytica trophozoites, cysts, and in vitro-produced CLS is reported herein to determine the nature of CLS, widen our knowledge on the cyst stage, and identify possible proteins and pathways involved in the encystment process. Total protein extracts were obtained from E. histolytica trophozoites, CLS, and partially purified cysts recovered from the feces of amoebic human patients; extracts were trypsin-digested and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. In total, 1029 proteins were identified in trophozoites, 550 in CLS, and 411 in cysts, with 539, 299, and 84 proteins unique to each sample, respectively, and only 74 proteins shared by all three stages. About 70% of CLS proteins were shared with trophozoites, even though differences were observed in the relative protein abundance. While trophozoites showed a greater abundance of proteins associated to a metabolically active cell, CLS showed higher expression of proteins related to proteolysis, redox homeostasis, and stress response. In addition, the expression of genes encoding for the cyst wall proteins Jessie and Jacob was detected by RT-PCR and the Jacob protein identified by Western blotting and immunofluorescence in CLS. However, the proteomic profile of cysts as determined by LC-MS/MS was very dissimilar to that of trophozoites and CLS, with almost 40% of hypothetical proteins. Our global results suggest that CLS are more alike to trophozoites than to cysts, and they could be generated as a rapid survival response of trophozoites to a stressful condition, which allows the parasite to survive temporarily inside a chitin-like resistant cover containing Jacob protein. Our findings lead us to suggest that encystment and CLS formation could be distinct stress responses. In addition, we show that cysts express a high number of genes with unknown function, including four new, highly antigenic, possibly membrane-located proteins that could be targets of therapeutic and diagnostic usefulness.
Project description:To investigate the magnitude of the transcriptional changes occurring during the life cycle of Giardia lamblia we compared the transcriptome of trophozoites and cysts. Cysts were found to possess a much smaller transcriptome, both in terms of mRNA diversity and abundance. Genes encoding proteins related to ribosomal functions are highly over-represented. In cysts which have lost infectivity the transcriptome is further depleted. In contrast, exposure of cysts to conditions which promote excystation induced transcription. Overall design: Six cysts and three trophozoites life cycle stages were analyzed.
Project description:To investigate the magnitude of the transcriptional changes occurring during the life cycle of Giardia lamblia we compared the transcriptome of trophozoites and cysts. Cysts were found to possess a much smaller transcriptome, both in terms of mRNA diversity and abundance. Genes encoding proteins related to ribosomal functions are highly over-represented. In cysts which have lost infectivity the transcriptome is further depleted. In contrast, exposure of cysts to conditions which promote excystation induced transcription. Six cysts and three trophozoites life cycle stages were analyzed.