Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-dependent secretory transport in Trypanosoma brucei.
ABSTRACT: We have investigated the role of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors in forward secretory trafficking using African trypanosomes as a model system. Soluble GPI-minus forms of variant surface glycoprotein (VSG), in which the C-terminal GPI-addition peptide signal is deleted, are secreted from transformed procyclic trypanosomes with 5-fold reduced kinetics, relative to matched GPI-anchored constructs. Cell fractionation and immunofluorescence localization studies indicate that the GPI-minus VSG reporters accumulate in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This transport defect is specific, since overexpression of GPI-minus VSG has no effect on the rate of transport of a second soluble secretory reporter (BiPN) when co-expressed in the same cells. Two results suggest that delayed forward transport cannot be accounted for by failure to fold/assemble in the absence of a GPI anchor, thereby leading to prolonged association with ER quality-control machinery. First, no evidence was found for elevated association of GPI-minus VSG with the ER molecular chaperone, BiP. Secondly, newly synthesized GPI-minus VSG is dimerized efficiently, as judged by velocity-sedimentation analysis. GPI-dependent transport is not confined to the VSG reporters, because a similar dependence is found with another trypanosomal GPI-anchored protein, trans-sialidase. These findings suggest that GPI structures act in a positive manner to mediate efficient forward transport of some, and perhaps all, GPI-anchored proteins in the early secretory pathway of trypanosomes. Possible mechanisms for GPI-dependent transport are discussed with respect to current models of vesicular trafficking.
Project description:The variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) of bloodstream form Trypanosoma brucei (Tb) is a critical virulence factor. The VSG glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor strongly influences passage through the early secretory pathway. Using a dominant-negative mutation of TbSar1, we show that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) exit of secretory cargo in trypanosomes is dependent on the coat protein complex II (COPII) machinery. Trypanosomes have two orthologues each of the Sec23 and Sec24 COPII subunits, which form specific heterodimeric pairs: TbSec23.1/TbSec24.2 and TbSec23.2/TbSec24.1. RNA interference silencing of each subunit is lethal but has minimal effects on trafficking of soluble and transmembrane proteins. However, silencing of the TbSec23.2/TbSec24.1 pair selectively impairs ER exit of GPI-anchored cargo. All four subunits colocalize to one or two ER exit sites (ERES), in close alignment with the postnuclear flagellar adherence zone (FAZ), and closely juxtaposed to corresponding Golgi clusters. These ERES are nucleated on the FAZ-associated ER. The Golgi matrix protein Tb Golgi reassembly stacking protein defines a region between the ERES and Golgi, suggesting a possible structural role in the ERES:Golgi junction. Our results confirm a selective mechanism for GPI-anchored cargo loading into COPII vesicles and a remarkable degree of streamlining in the early secretory pathway. This unusual architecture probably maximizes efficiency of VSG transport and fidelity in organellar segregation during cytokinesis.
Project description:Trypanosoma brucei possesses a streamlined secretory system that guarantees efficient delivery to the cell surface of the critical glycosyl-phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored virulence factors, variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) and transferrin receptor (TfR). Both are thought to be constitutively endocytosed and returned to the flagellar pocket via TbRab11+ recycling endosomes. We use conditional knockdown with established reporters to investigate the role of TbRab11 in specific endomembrane trafficking pathways in bloodstream trypanosomes. TbRab11 is essential. Ablation has a modest negative effect on general endocytosis, but does not affect turnover, steady state levels or surface localization of TfR. Nor are biosynthetic delivery to the cell surface and recycling of VSG affected. TbRab11 depletion also causes increased shedding of VSG into the media by formation of nanotubes and extracellular vesicles. In contrast to GPI-anchored cargo, TbRab11 depletion reduces recycling of the transmembrane invariant surface protein, ISG65, leading to increased lysosomal turnover. Thus, TbRab11 plays a critical role in recycling of transmembrane, but not GPI-anchored surface proteins. We proposed a two-step model for VSG turnover involving release of VSG-containing vesicles followed by GPI hydrolysis. Collectively, our results indicate a critical role of TbRab11 in the homeostatic maintenance of the secretory/endocytic system of bloodstream T. brucei.
Project description:Bloodstream-form African trypanosomes encode two structurally related glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins that are critical virulence factors, variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) for antigenic variation and transferrin receptor (TfR) for iron acquisition. Both are transcribed from the active telomeric expression site. VSG is a GPI2 homodimer; TfR is a GPI1 heterodimer of GPI-anchored ESAG6 and ESAG7. GPI-valence correlates with secretory progression and fate in bloodstream trypanosomes: VSG (GPI2) is a surface protein; truncated VSG (GPI0) is degraded in the lysosome; and native TfR (GPI1) localizes in the flagellar pocket. Tf:Fe starvation results in up-regulation and redistribution of TfR to the plasma membrane suggesting a saturable mechanism for flagellar pocket retention. However, because such surface TfR is non-functional for ligand binding we proposed that it represents GPI2 ESAG6 homodimers that are unable to bind transferrin-thereby mimicking native VSG. We now exploit a novel RNAi system for simultaneous lethal silencing of all native TfR subunits and exclusive in-situ expression of RNAi-resistant TfR variants with valences of GPI0-2. Our results conform to the valence model: GPI0 ESAG7 homodimers traffick to the lysosome and GPI2 ESAG6 homodimers to the cell surface. However, when expressed alone ESAG6 is up-regulated ~7-fold, leaving the issue of saturable retention in the flagellar pocket in question. Therefore, we created an RNAi-resistant GPI2 TfR heterodimer by fusing the C-terminal domain of ESAG6 to ESAG7. Co-expression with ESAG6 generates a functional heterodimeric GPI2 TfR that restores Tf uptake and cell viability, and localizes to the cell surface, without overexpression. These results resolve the longstanding issue of TfR trafficking under over-expression and confirm GPI valence as a critical determinant of intracellular sorting in trypanosomes.
Project description:Recently, proteins linked to glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) residues have received considerable attention both for their association with lipid microdomains and for their specific transport between cellular membranes. Basic features of trafficking of GPI-anchored proteins or glycolipids may be explored in flagellated protozoan parasites, which offer the advantage that their surface is dominated by these components. In Trypanosoma brucei, the GPI-anchored variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) is efficiently sorted at multiple intracellular levels, leading to a 50-fold higher membrane concentration at the cell surface compared with the endoplasmic reticulum. We have studied the membrane and VSG flow at an invagination of the plasma membrane, the flagellar pocket, the sole region for endo- and exocytosis in this organism. VSG enters trypanosomes in large clathrin-coated vesicles (135 nm in diameter), which deliver their cargo to endosomes. In the lumen of cisternal endosomes, VSG is concentrated by default, because a distinct class of small clathrin-coated vesicles (50-60 nm in diameter) budding from the cisternae is depleted in VSG. TbRAB11-positive cisternal endosomes, containing VSG, fragment by an unknown process giving rise to intensely TbRAB11- as well as VSG-positive, disk-like carriers (154 nm in diameter, 34 nm in thickness), which are shown to fuse with the flagellar pocket membrane, thereby recycling VSG back to the cell surface.
Project description:T. cruzi improves the likelihood of invading or adapting to the host through its capacity to present a large repertoire of surface molecules. The metacyclic stage-specific surface glycoprotein GP82 has been implicated in host cell invasion. GP82 is encoded by multiple genes from the trans-sialidase superfamily. GP82 shows a modular organization, with some variation of N-terminal region flanking a conserved central core where the binding sites to the mammalian cell and gastric mucin are located. The function of GP82 as adhesin in host cell invasion process could expose the protein to an intense conservative and selective pressure. GP82 is a GPI-anchored surface protein, synthesized as a 70 kDa precursor devoid of N-linked sugars. GPI-minus variants accumulate in the ER indicating that GPI anchor acts as a forward transport signal for progressing along the secretory pathway as suggested for T. cruzi mucins. It has been demonstrated that the expression of GP82 is constitutive and may be regulated at post-transcriptional level, for instance, at translational level and/or mRNA stabilization. GP82 mRNAs are mobilized to polysomes and consequently translated, but only in metacyclic trypomastigotes. Analysis of transgenic parasites indicates that the mechanism regulating GP82 expression involves multiple elements in the 3'UTR.
Project description:Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins are secretory proteins that are attached to the cell surface of eukaryotic cells by a glycolipid moiety. Once GPI anchoring has occurred in the lumen of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the structure of the lipid part on the GPI anchor undergoes a remodeling process prior to ER exit. In this study, we provide evidence suggesting that the yeast p24 complex, through binding specifically to GPI-anchored proteins in an anchor-dependent manner, plays a dual role in their selective trafficking. First, the p24 complex promotes efficient ER exit of remodeled GPI-anchored proteins after concentration by connecting them with the COPII coat and thus facilitates their incorporation into vesicles. Second, it retrieves escaped, unremodeled GPI-anchored proteins from the Golgi to the ER in COPI vesicles. Therefore the p24 complex, by sensing the status of the GPI anchor, regulates GPI-anchored protein intracellular transport and coordinates this with correct anchor remodeling.
Project description:Trypanosoma cruzi is wrapped by a dense coat of mucin-type molecules encoded by complex gene families termed TcSMUG and TcMUC, which are expressed in the insect- and mammal-dwelling forms of the parasite, respectively. Here, we dissect the contribution of distinct post-translational modifications on the trafficking of these glycoconjugates. In vivo tracing and characterization of tagged-variants expressed by transfected epimastigotes indicate that although the N-terminal signal peptide is responsible for targeting TcSMUG products to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor likely functions as a forward transport signal for their timely progression along the secretory pathway. GPI-minus variants accumulate in the ER, with only a minor fraction being ultimately released to the medium as anchorless products. Secreted products, but not ER-accumulated ones, display several diagnostic features of mature mucin-type molecules including extensive O-type glycosylation, Galf-based epitopes recognized by monoclonal antibodies, and terminal Galp residues that become readily sialylated upon addition of parasite trans-sialidases. Processing of N-glycosylation site(s) is dispensable for the overall TcSMUG mucin-type maturation and secretion. Despite undergoing different O-glycosylation elaboration, TcMUC reporters yielded quite similar results, thus indicating that (i) molecular trafficking signals are structurally and functionally conserved between mucin families, and (ii) TcMUC and TcSMUG products are recognized and processed by a distinct repertoire of stage-specific glycosyltransferases. Thus, using the fidelity of a homologous expression system, we have defined some biosynthetic aspects of T. cruzi mucins, key molecules involved in parasite protection and virulence.
Project description:The cellular mechanisms that ensure the selectivity and fidelity of secretory cargo protein transport from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi are still not well understood. The p24 protein complex acts as a specific cargo receptor for GPI-anchored proteins by facilitating their ER exit through a specialized export pathway in yeast. In parallel, the p24 complex can also exit the ER using the general pathway that exports the rest of secretory proteins with their respective cargo receptors. Here, we show biochemically that the p24 complex associates at the ER with other cargo receptors in a COPII-dependent manner, forming high-molecular weight multireceptor complexes. Furthermore, live cell imaging analysis reveals that the p24 complex is required to retain in the ER secretory cargos when their specific receptors are absent. This requirement does not involve neither the unfolded protein response nor the retrograde transport from the Golgi. Our results suggest that, in addition to its role as a cargo receptor in the specialized GPI-anchored protein pathway, the p24 complex also plays an independent role in secretory cargo selectivity during its exit through the general ER export pathway, preventing the non-selective bulk flow of native secretory cargos. This mechanism would ensure receptor-regulated cargo transport, providing an additional layer of regulation of secretory cargo selectivity during ER export.
Project description:A wide variety of eukaryotic membrane proteins are anchored to the outside of cells by covalent linkage to glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI). One of the best characterized examples is the variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) of the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma brucei. The structure of the GPI precursor is ethanolamine-PO4-Man alpha 1-2Man alpha 1-6Man alpha 1-4GlcNH2-PI; the phosphoethanolamine moiety forms an amide linkage to the VSG polypeptide alpha-COOH group during its attachment to protein. Here we report that the serine esterase inhibitor, phenylmethanesulphonyl fluoride (PMSF), inhibits phosphoethanolamine incorporation into the GPI precursor resulting in the accumulation of a Man3GlcNH2-PI intermediate. PMSF exerts this effect both in living trypanosomes and in a trypanosome-derived cell-free system. This is the first report of an inhibitor which affects GPI biosynthesis but not N-glycosylation. A model of the mechanism of phosphoethanolamine incorporation into the GPI precursor, based on the known properties of PMSF, is presented.
Project description:The Trypanosoma brucei genome encodes three groups of zinc metalloproteases, each of which contains approximately 30% amino acid identity with the major surface protease (MSP, also called GP63) of Leishmania. One of these proteases, TbMSP-B, is encoded by four nearly identical, tandem genes transcribed in both bloodstream and procyclic trypanosomes. Earlier work showed that RNA interference against TbMSP-B prevents release of a recombinant variant surface glycoprotein (VSG) from procyclic trypanosomes. Here, we used gene deletions to show that TbMSP-B and a phospholipase C (GPI-PLC) act in concert to remove native VSG during differentiation of bloodstream trypanosomes to procyclic form. When the four tandem TbMSP-B genes were deleted from both chromosomal alleles, bloodstream B (-/-) trypanosomes could still differentiate to procyclic form, but VSG was removed more slowly and in a non-truncated form compared to differentiation of wild-type organisms. Similarly, when both alleles of the single-copy GPI-PLC gene were deleted, bloodstream PLC (-/-) cells could still differentiate. However, when all the genes for both TbMSP-B and GPI-PLC were deleted from the diploid genome, the bloodstream B (-/-) PLC (-/-) trypanosomes did not proliferate in the differentiation medium, and 60% of the VSG remained on the cell surface. Inhibitors of cysteine proteases did not affect this result. These findings demonstrate that removal of 60% of the VSG during differentiation from bloodstream to procyclic form is due to the synergistic activities of GPI-PLC and TbMSP-B.