Early regulation of profibrotic genes in primary human cardiac myocytes by Trypanosoma cruzi
ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms of Trypanosoma cruzi induced cardiac fibrosis remains to be elucidated. Primary human cardiomyoctes (PHCM) exposed to invasive T. cruzi trypomastigotes were used for transcriptome profiling and downstream bioinformatic analysis to determine fibrotic-associated genes regulated early during infection process (0 to 120 minutes). The identification of early molecular host responses to T. cruzi infection can be exploited to delineate important molecular signatures that can be used for the classification of Chagasic patients at risk of developing heart disease. Our results show distinct gene network architecture with multiple gene networks modulated by the parasite with an incline towards progression to a fibrogenic phenotype. Early during infection, T. cruzi significantly upregulated transcription factors including activator protein 1 (AP1) transcription factor network components (including FOSB, FOS and JUNB), early growth response proteins 1 and 3 (EGR1, EGR3), and cytokines/chemokines (IL5, IL6, IL13, CCL11), which have all been implicated in the onset of fibrosis. The changes in our selected genes of interest did not all start at the same time point. The transcriptome microarray data, validated by quantitative Real-Time PCR, was also confirmed by immunoblotting and customized Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) array showing significant increases in the protein expression levels of fibrogenic EGR1, SNAI1 and IL 6. Furthermore, phosphorylated SMAD2/3 which induces a fibrogenic phenotype is also upregulated accompanied by an increased nuclear translocation of JunB. Pathway analysis of the validated genes and phospho-proteins regulated by the parasite provides the very early fibrotic interactome operating when T. cruzi comes in contact with PHCM. The interactome architecture shows that the parasite induces both TGF-β dependent and independent fibrotic pathways, providing an early molecular foundation for Chagasic cardiomyopathy. Examining the very early molecular events of T. cruzi cellular infection may provide disease biomarkers which will aid clinicians in patient assessment and identification of patient subpopulation at risk of developing Chagasic cardiomyopathy. Primary Human Cardiomyoctes (low passage) were exposed to T. cruzi at different time points. The control was done in biological triplicates and the time points (60, 90 and 120 minutes) were done in biological duplicates.
Project description:The molecular mechanisms of Trypanosoma cruzi induced cardiac fibrosis remains to be elucidated. Primary human cardiomyoctes (PHCM) exposed to invasive T. cruzi trypomastigotes were used for transcriptome profiling and downstream bioinformatic analysis to determine fibrotic-associated genes regulated early during infection process (0 to 120 minutes). The identification of early molecular host responses to T. cruzi infection can be exploited to delineate important molecular signatures that can be used for the classification of Chagasic patients at risk of developing heart disease. Our results show distinct gene network architecture with multiple gene networks modulated by the parasite with an incline towards progression to a fibrogenic phenotype. Early during infection, T. cruzi significantly upregulated transcription factors including activator protein 1 (AP1) transcription factor network components (including FOSB, FOS and JUNB), early growth response proteins 1 and 3 (EGR1, EGR3), and cytokines/chemokines (IL5, IL6, IL13, CCL11), which have all been implicated in the onset of fibrosis. The changes in our selected genes of interest did not all start at the same time point. The transcriptome microarray data, validated by quantitative Real-Time PCR, was also confirmed by immunoblotting and customized Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays (ELISA) array showing significant increases in the protein expression levels of fibrogenic EGR1, SNAI1 and IL 6. Furthermore, phosphorylated SMAD2/3 which induces a fibrogenic phenotype is also upregulated accompanied by an increased nuclear translocation of JunB. Pathway analysis of the validated genes and phospho-proteins regulated by the parasite provides the very early fibrotic interactome operating when T. cruzi comes in contact with PHCM. The interactome architecture shows that the parasite induces both TGF-? dependent and independent fibrotic pathways, providing an early molecular foundation for Chagasic cardiomyopathy. Examining the very early molecular events of T. cruzi cellular infection may provide disease biomarkers which will aid clinicians in patient assessment and identification of patient subpopulation at risk of developing Chagasic cardiomyopathy.
Project description:The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, causes severe morbidity and mortality in afflicted individuals. About 30% of T. cruzi-infected individuals present with cardiac, gastrointestinal tract, and/or neurological disorders. Megacolon, one of the major pathologies of Chagas disease, is accompanied by gastrointestinal motility disorders. The molecular mechanism of T. cruzi-mediated megacolon in Chagas disease is currently unknown. To decipher the molecular mechanism of T. cruzi-induced alteration in the colon during the early infection phase, we exposed primary human colonic epithelial cells (HCoEpiC) to invasive T. cruzi trypomastigotes at multiple time points to determine changes in the phosphoprotein networks in the cells following infection using proteome profiler Human phospho-kinase arrays. We found significant changes in the phosphorylation pattern that can mediate cellular deregulations in colonic epithelial cells after infection. We detected a significant increase in the levels of phosphorylated heat shock protein (p-HSP) 27 and transcription factors that regulate various cellular functions, including c-Jun and CREB. Our study confirmed significant upregulation of phospho (p-) Akt S473, p-JNK, which may directly or indirectly modulate CREB and c-Jun phosphorylation, respectively. We also observed increased levels of phosphorylated CREB and c-Jun in the nucleus. Furthermore, we found that p-c-Jun and p-CREB co-localized in the nucleus at 180 minutes post infection, with a maximum Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.76±0.02. Increased p-c-Jun and p-CREB have been linked to inflammatory and profibrotic responses. T. cruzi infection of HCoEpiC induces an increased expression of thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), which is fibrogenic at elevated levels. We also found that T. cruzi infection modulates the expression of NF-kB and JAK2-STAT1 signaling molecules which can increase pro-inflammatory flux. Bioinformatics analysis of the phosphoprotein networks derived using the phospho-protein data serves as a blueprint for T. cruzi-mediated cellular transformation of primary human colonic cells during the early phase of T. cruzi infection.
Project description:The protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes human Chagas' disease, exerts a variety of effects on host extracellular matrix (ECM) including proteolytic degradation of collagens and dampening of ECM gene expression. Exposure of primary human dermal fibroblasts to live infective T. cruzi trypomastigotes or their shed/secreted products results in a rapid down-regulation of the fibrogenic genes collagenI?1, fibronectin and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2). Here we demonstrate the ability of a secreted/released T. cruzi factor to antagonize ctgf/ccn2 expression in dermal fibroblasts in response to TGF-ß, lysophosphatidic acid or serum, where agonist-induced phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases Erk1/2, p38 and JNK was also inhibited. Global analysis of gene expression in dermal fibroblasts identified a discrete subset of TGF-ß-inducible genes involved in cell proliferation, wound repair, and immune regulation that are inhibited by T. cruzi secreted/released factors, where the genes exhibiting the highest sensitivity to T. cruzi are known to be regulated by MAP kinase-activated transcription factors. Consistent with this observation, the Ets-family transcription factor binding site in the proximal promoter region of the ctgf/ccn2 gene (-91 bp to -84 bp) was shown to be required for T. cruzi-mediated down-regulation of ctgf/ccn2 reporter expression. The cumulative data suggest a model in which T. cruzi-derived molecules secreted/released early in the infective process dampen MAP kinase signaling and the activation of transcription factors that regulate expression of fibroblast genes involved in wound repair and tissue remodelling, including ctgf/ccn2. These findings have broader implications for local modulation of ECM synthesis/remodelling by T. cruzi during the early establishment of infection in the mammalian host and highlight the potential for pathogen-derived molecules to be exploited as tools to modulate the fibrogenic response.
Project description:Congenital infection of Trypanosoma cruzi allows transmission of this parasite through generations. Despite the problematic that this entails, little is known about the placenta environment genetic response produced against infection. We performed functional genomics by microarray analysis in C57Bl/6J mice comparing placentas from uninfected animals and from animals infected with two different T. cruzi strains: K98, a clone of the non-lethal myotropic CA-I strain (TcI), and VD (TcVI), isolated from a human case of congenital infection. Analysis of networks by GeneMANIA of differentially expressed genes showed that “Secretory Granule” was a pathway down-regulated in both infected groups, whereas “Innate Immune Response” and “Response to Interferon-gamma” were pathways up-regulated in VD infection but not in K98. Applying another approach, the GSEA algorithm that detects small changes in predetermined gene sets, we found that metabolic processes, transcription and macromolecular transport were down-regulated in infected placentas environment and some pathways related to cascade signaling had opposite regulation: over-represented in VD and down-regulated in K98 group. We also have found a stronger placental tropism by VD strain, by detection of parasite DNA and RNA, suggesting living parasites in that tissue. Our study is the first one to describe in a murine model the genetic response of placental environment to T. cruzi infection and suggests the development of a strong immune response, parasite genotype-dependent, to the detriment of cellular metabolism. Total RNA obtained from isolated placentas from mice with chronic T. cruzi infection (K98 or VD strains) at 18.5 days of gestation compared to uninfected control mice.
Project description:Host and parasite diversity are suspected to be key factors in Chagas disease pathogenesis. Experimental investigation of underlying mechanisms is hampered by a lack of tools to detect scarce, pleiotropic infection foci. We developed sensitive imaging models to track Trypanosoma cruzi infection dynamics and quantify tissue-specific parasite loads, with minimal sampling bias. We used this technology to investigate cardiomyopathy caused by highly divergent parasite strains in BALB/c, C3H/HeN and C57BL/6 mice. The gastrointestinal tract was unexpectedly found to be the primary site of chronic infection in all models. Immunosuppression induced expansion of parasite loads in the gut and was followed by widespread dissemination. These data indicate that differential immune control of T. cruzi occurs between tissues and shows that the large intestine and stomach provide permissive niches for active infection. The end-point frequency of heart-specific infections ranged from 0% in TcVI-CLBR-infected C57BL/6 to 88% in TcI-JR-infected C3H/HeN mice. Nevertheless, infection led to fibrotic cardiac pathology in all models. Heart disease severity was associated with the model-dependent frequency of dissemination outside the gut and inferred cumulative heart-specific parasite loads. We propose a model of cardiac pathogenesis driven by periodic trafficking of parasites into the heart, occurring at a frequency determined by host and parasite genetics.
Project description:Intracellular colonization and persistent infection by the kinetoplastid protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, underlie the pathogenesis of human Chagas disease. To obtain global insights into the T. cruzi infective process, transcriptome dynamics were simultaneously captured in the parasite and host cells in an infection time course of human fibroblasts. Extensive remodeling of the T. cruzi transcriptome was observed during the early establishment of intracellular infection, coincident with a major developmental transition in the parasite. Contrasting this early response, few additional changes in steady state mRNA levels were detected once mature T. cruzi amastigotes were formed. Our findings suggest that transcriptome remodeling is required to establish a modified template to guide developmental transitions in the parasite, whereas homeostatic functions are regulated independently of transcriptomic changes, similar to that reported in related trypanosomatids. Despite complex mechanisms for regulation of phenotypic expression in T. cruzi, transcriptomic signatures derived from distinct developmental stages mirror known or projected characteristics of T. cruzi biology. Focusing on energy metabolism, we were able to validate predictions forecast in the mRNA expression profiles. We demonstrate measurable differences in the bioenergetic properties of the different mammalian-infective stages of T. cruzi and present additional findings that underscore the importance of mitochondrial electron transport in T. cruzi amastigote growth and survival. Consequences of T. cruzi colonization for the host include dynamic expression of immune response genes and cell cycle regulators with upregulation of host cholesterol and lipid synthesis pathways, which may serve to fuel intracellular T. cruzi growth. Thus, in addition to the biological inferences gained from gene ontology and functional enrichment analysis of differentially expressed genes in parasite and host, our comprehensive, high resolution transcriptomic dataset provides a substantially more detailed interpretation of T. cruzi infection biology and offers a basis for future drug and vaccine discovery efforts.
Project description:The Chagas' disease parasite Trypanosoma cruzi elicits a potent inflammatory response in acutely infected hearts that keeps parasitism in check and triggers cardiac abnormalities. A most-studied mechanism underlying innate immunity in T. cruzi infection is Toll-like receptor (TLR) activation by lipids and other parasite molecules. However, yet-to-be-identified pathways should exist. Here, we show that T. cruzi strongly upregulates monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1)/CCL2 and fractalkine (FKN)/CX3CL1 in cellular and mouse models of heart infection. Mechanistically, upregulation of MCP-1 and FKN stems from the interaction of parasite-derived neurotrophic factor (PDNF)/trans-sialidase with neurotrophic receptors TrkA and TrkC, as assessed by pharmacological inhibition, neutralizing antibodies, and gene silencing studies. Administration of a single dose of intravenous PDNF to naive mice results in a dose-dependent increase in MCP-1 and FKN in the heart and liver with pulse-like kinetics that peak at 3 h postinjection. Intravenous PDNF also augments MCP-1 and FKN in TLR signaling-deficient MyD88-knockout mice, underscoring the MyD88-independent action of PDNF. Although single PDNF injections do not increase MCP-1 and FKN receptors, multiple PDNF injections at short intervals up the levels of receptor transcripts in the heart and liver, suggesting that sustained PDNF triggers cell recruitment at infection sites. Thus, given that MCP-1 and FKN are chemokines essential to the recruitment of immune cells to combat inflammation triggers and to enhance tissue repair, our findings uncover a new mechanism in innate immunity against T. cruzi infection mediated by Trk signaling akin to an endogenous inflammatory and fibrotic pathway resulting from cardiomyocyte-TrkA recognition by matricellular connective tissue growth factor (CTGF/CCN2).
Project description:Chagasic heart disease develops in 30% of those infected with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, but can take decades to become symptomatic. Because of this, it has been difficult to assess the extent to which antiparasitic therapy can prevent the development of pathology. We sought to address this question using experimental murine models, exploiting highly sensitive bioluminescent imaging to monitor curative efficacy. Mice were inoculated with bioluminescent parasites and then cured in either the acute or chronic stage of infection with benznidazole. At the experimental endpoint (5 to 6 months postinfection), heart tissue was removed and assessed for inflammation and fibrosis, two widely used markers of cardiac pathology. Infection of BALB/c and C3H/HeN mice with distinct T. cruzi lineages resulted in greatly increased myocardial collagen content at a group level, indicative of fibrotic pathology. When mice were cured by benznidazole in the acute stage, the development of pathology was completely blocked. However, if treatment was delayed until the chronic stage, cardiac fibrosis was observed in the BALB/c model, although the protective effect was maintained in the case of C3H/HeN mice. These experiments therefore demonstrate that curative benznidazole treatment early in murine T. cruzi infections can prevent the development of cardiac fibrosis. They also show that treatment during the chronic stage can block pathology but the effectiveness varies between infection models. If these findings are extendable to humans, it implies that widespread chemotherapeutic intervention targeted at early-stage infections could play a crucial role in reducing Chagas disease morbidity at a population level.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi, the protozoan parasite that causes human Chagas' disease, induces a type I interferon (IFN) (IFN-?/?) response during acute experimental infection in mice and in isolated primary cell types. To examine the potential impact of the type I IFN response in shaping outcomes in experimental T. cruzi infection, groups of wild-type (WT) and type I IFN receptor-deficient (IFNAR(-/-)) 129sv/ev mice were infected with two different T. cruzi strains under lethal and sublethal conditions and several parameters were measured during the acute stage of infection. The results demonstrate that type I IFNs are not required for early host protection against T. cruzi. In contrast, under conditions of lethal T. cruzi challenge, WT mice succumbed to infection whereas IFNAR(-/-) mice were ultimately able to control parasite growth and survive. T. cruzi clearance in and survival of IFNAR(-/-) mice were accompanied by higher levels of IFN-? production by isolated splenocytes in response to parasite antigen. The suppression of IFN-? in splenocytes from WT mice was independent of IL-10 levels. While the impact of type I IFNs on the production of IFN-? and other cytokines/chemokines remains to be fully determined in the context of T. cruzi infection, our data suggest that, under conditions of high parasite burden, type I IFNs negatively impact IFN-? production, initiating a detrimental cycle that contributes to the ultimate failure to control infection. These findings are consistent with a growing theme in the microbial pathogenesis field in which type I IFNs can be detrimental to the host in a variety of nonviral pathogen infection models.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Chronic Chagas cardiomyopathy caused by Trypanosoma cruzi is the result of a pathologic process starting during the acute phase of parasite infection. Among different factors, the specific recognition of glycan structures by glycan-binding proteins from the parasite or from the mammalian host cells may play a critical role in the evolution of the infection. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Here we investigated the contribution of galectin-1 (Gal-1), an endogenous glycan-binding protein abundantly expressed in human and mouse heart, to the pathophysiology of T. cruzi infection, particularly in the context of cardiac pathology. We found that exposure of HL-1 cardiac cells to Gal-1 reduced the percentage of infection by two different T. cruzi strains, Tulahuén (TcVI) and Brazil (TcI). In addition, Gal-1 prevented exposure of phosphatidylserine and early events in the apoptotic program by parasite infection on HL-1 cells. These effects were not mediated by direct interaction with the parasite surface, suggesting that Gal-1 may act through binding to host cells. Moreover, we also observed that T. cruzi infection altered the glycophenotype of cardiac cells, reducing binding of exogenous Gal-1 to the cell surface. Consistent with these data, Gal-1 deficient (Lgals1-/-) mice showed increased parasitemia, reduced signs of inflammation in heart and skeletal muscle tissues, and lower survival rates as compared to wild-type (WT) mice in response to intraperitoneal infection with T. cruzi Tulahuén strain. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:Our results indicate that Gal-1 modulates T. cruzi infection of cardiac cells, highlighting the relevance of galectins and their ligands as regulators of host-parasite interactions.