Project description:The biological membranes of Trypanosoma brucei contain a complex array of phospholipids that are synthesized de novo from precursors obtained either directly from the host, or as catabolised endocytosed lipids. This paper describes the use of nanoflow electrospray tandem mass spectrometry and high resolution mass spectrometry in both positive and negative ion modes, allowing the identification of approximately 500 individual molecular phospholipids species from total lipid extracts of cultured bloodstream and procyclic form T. brucei. Various molecular species of all of the major subclasses of glycerophospholipids were identified including phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidylinositol as well as phosphatidic acid, phosphatidylglycerol and cardolipin, and the sphingolipids sphingomyelin, inositol phosphoceramide and ethanolamine phosphoceramide. The lipidomic data obtained in this study will aid future biochemical phenotyping of either genetically or chemically manipulated commonly used bloodstream and procyclic strains of Trypanosoma brucei. Hopefully this will allow a greater understanding of the bizarre world of lipids in this important human pathogen.
Project description:Ribose 5-phosphate isomerase is an enzyme involved in the non-oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway, and catalyzes the inter-conversion of D-ribose 5-phosphate and D-ribulose 5-phosphate. Trypanosomatids, including the agent of African sleeping sickness namely Trypanosoma brucei, have a type B ribose-5-phosphate isomerase. This enzyme is absent from humans, which have a structurally unrelated ribose 5-phosphate isomerase type A, and therefore has been proposed as an attractive drug target waiting further characterization. In this study, Trypanosoma brucei ribose 5-phosphate isomerase B showed in vitro isomerase activity. RNAi against this enzyme reduced parasites' in vitro growth, and more importantly, bloodstream forms infectivity. Mice infected with induced RNAi clones exhibited lower parasitaemia and a prolonged survival compared to control mice. Phenotypic reversion was achieved by complementing induced RNAi clones with an ectopic copy of Trypanosoma cruzi gene. Our results present the first functional characterization of Trypanosoma brucei ribose 5-phosphate isomerase B, and show the relevance of an enzyme belonging to the non-oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway in the context of Trypanosoma brucei infection.
Project description:Induction of RNA interference targeted against casein kinase 1 isoform 2 (TbCK1.2, Tb927.5.800) in bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei in vitro results in rapid cessation of growth, gross morphological changes, multinucleation and ultimately cell death. A null mutant of the highly homologous casein kinase 1 isoform 1 (Tb927.5.790) in bloodstream form T. brucei displays no growth or morphological phenotype in vitro. A truncated form of TbCK1.2 expressed in Escherichia coli as a GST fusion produces catalytically active recombinant protein, facilitating screening for small molecule inhibitors. These data show that TbCK1.2 is an attractive target for anti-trypanosomal drug discovery.
Project description:PI (phosphatidylinositol) is a ubiquitous eukaryotic phospholipid which serves as a precursor for messenger molecules and GPI (glycosylphosphatidylinositol) anchors. PI is synthesized either de novo or by head group exchange by a PIS (PI synthase). The synthesis of GPI anchors has previously been validated both genetically and chemically as a drug target in Trypanosoma brucei, the causative parasite of African sleeping sickness. However, nothing is known about the synthesis of PI in this organism. Database mining revealed a putative TbPIS gene in the T. brucei genome and by recombinant expression and characterization it was shown to encode a catalytically active PIS, with a high specificity for myo-inositol. Immunofluorescence revealed that in T. brucei, PIS is found in both the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi. We created a conditional double knockout of TbPIS in the bloodstream form of T. brucei, which when grown under non-permissive conditions, clearly showed that TbPIS is an essential gene. In vivo labelling of these conditional double knockout cells confirmed this result, showing a decrease in the amount of PI formed by the cells when grown under non-permissive conditions. Furthermore, quantitative and qualitative analysis by GLC-MS and ESI-MS/MS (electrospray ionization MS/MS) respectively showed a significant decrease (70%) in cellular PI, which appears to affect all major PI species equally. A consequence of this fall in PI level is a knock-on reduction in GPI biosynthesis which is essential for the parasite's survival. The results presented here show that PI synthesis is essential for bloodstream form T. brucei, and to our knowledge this is the first report of the dependence on PI synthesis of a protozoan parasite by genetic validation.